- Tips for Revving Up Your Listening Skills in Noisy Environments This Summer - June 26, 2023
- Dealing with Sweat – How to Keep Your Hearing Aids in Top Condition This Summer - June 16, 2023
- All About Clogged Ears - June 2, 2023
“What was that?” If this seems to be your tagline the last time you socialized then it may be time to have your hearing tested. All too often, people put off suspected hearing loss- on average, seven to ten years, in fact without understanding the risk. Hearing loss has not only been linked to increased issues in communication but surprisingly an impact on your Physical ability and generalized well-being.
Impact of Hearing Loss on Physical Health
Healthy communication is the cornerstone to the relationships in your life. Hearing loss often develops slowly—so gradually that you may not even notice it. However, this doesn’t mean it’s not affecting you. Hearing loss can make an impact on not just your emotional health, but physical health as well in several ways.in a few key ways.
Strained communication: Not only does hearing loss make it hard to follow conversation, but our brain is brain receiving less auditory information. This can contribute to a wide range of symptoms including sounds being slurred or distorted, and make it increasingly more challenging to hear in environments with noise. You may find that social situations which used to bring you joy seem less appealing. You may start skipping social functions or even family gatherings as they become a source of stress. This means we get out less, make less plans and start to become isolated.
Leads to social withdrawal: Social withdrawal due to an unaddressed hearing loss can build up to depressive symptoms and chronic loneliness. When we are depressed, we are less likely to go out and try new things.
Increases depressive health risks: a study from Blue Cross Blue Shield reports that “People diagnosed with major depression use healthcare services more than other commercially insured Americans. This results in more than two times higher overall healthcare spending” In fact, chronic depression is connected to higher stress levels, increased blood pressure and increased the risk of many chronic health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Increased risk of falls: In addition to depressive symptoms, untreated hearing loss can increase the risk of falls, and accidental injuries. When we are less aware of our environment due to a depletion of auditory cues, we have a shortened reaction time to the world around us making us more prone to accidents in the world.
Cognitive decline: Hearing makes parts of words hard to hear, forcing our brains to work harder during conversation. As a result, over years, hearing loss has been found to increase the risk of cognitive decline, leading to higher rates of dementia.
Link Between Hearing Loss and Reduced Physicality
Several studies have been the focus of the connection between reduced physicality and hearing loss. These studies focused on the loss of mobility when performing everyday activities and movements. This includes these two significant studies:
2021 Study Published in JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surgery. This study based in Spain evaluated the hearing and physical capacities of 1644 adults, ages 65 and older. Physicality was determined by measuring ability to perform daily tasks and movements, measuring weight, assessing balance etc. They found that 13.6% of participants had hearing loss and were able to find a direct connection between this and an impaired lower extremity function, frailty syndrome, and disability in instrumental activities of daily living (IADL).
Study by University of Jyväskylä and the University of Tampere. This study based in Finland examined the relationship between hearing loss and mobility. In a test group of 848 people, ages 75-90 who had their hearing capacities and mobility, researchers found that people with hearing loss were more than twice as likely to limit their movements compared to people without hearing loss.
The Impact on Treating a Hearing Loss for Your Well-Being
Reduced physicality and mobility in these studies was defined as reduced movement, spending less time engaging in daily activities, spending less time with loved ones and other aspects which also impact well-being and quality of life. While there is no way to reverse a hearing loss, you can treat it effectively using hearing aids. These tiny electronic devices fit in or around your ear and are programmed to amplify the sounds and tones you struggle with, based on your last hearing exam. If you are feeling low, depressed and unmotivated, it could be connected to hearing loss. Contact us today to schedule a hearing exam.