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Hearing loss depicted as a problem that compounds by showing several cutout men toppled over on one man.

Are you amazed to learn that hearing loss is about more than just your ears? Ears are the tools of hearing, so the damage done to them due to aging, injury or illness is why someone can’t hear, but did you know there is more to it than that The loss of a person’s hearing bleeds into a number of other aspects of their life. It’s a dramatic change for someone who has always had the ability to hear. Take some ways that hearing loss has a profound effect on more than just the ears.

Earning Potential

A 2006 report published by the Australian company Access Economics states there’s a connection between salary potential and hearing. They found that an individual with hearing loss will potentially make about 25 percent less than those that do hear, but why?

There are many things that could impact earnings. Somebody who works with no hearing assistance device such as a hearing aid may miss out on crucial material. They might show up for a company meeting at 4 if it was actually at 2 pm, for instance. Employers tend to appreciate those with astute attention to detail, and that’s a challenge when you can not hear the specifics.

Working environments can be noisy and chaotic, too. A individual with hearing loss can quickly become confused with all that noise around them. They will struggle to talk on the phone, to listen to clients and to understand what colleagues are saying because in a loud environment the desktop sounds like clacking keyboards or an air conditioner engine become pronounced.

Relationships

Some of the very same problems at work become a problem at home. Hearing loss has the potential to cause conflict, especially when the individual with the problem continues to deny it. Little things like saying “what” a lot during discussions and turning the TV up too loud irritate friends, family members, and spouses.

They may attempt to intervene and encourage this individual to recognize their hearing loss, which leads to friction, as well. It’s extremely common for someone with hearing loss to isolate themselves and refuse to go out and spend some time with others. They struggle to keep up with conversations, so they so what the can to avoid them.

Mental Health Concerns

The problems at work and home take a toll on mental health over time. A 2014 study performed by the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders discovered a cause and effect relationship between hearing loss and depression. Their research indicates an increased risk of depression, especially among women and people under the age of 70. Their risk of depression goes from 5 percent to approximately 11 percent with hearing loss.

A second study by the Senior Research Group indicates that the risk of mental health problems including depression, anxiety and paranoia goes up when a individual with hearing loss doesn’t use hearing aids. The study participants who didn’t wear hearing aids reported everything from feelings of despair to sudden fits of anger more frequently than those that did wear them.

Safety Issues

Safety is always a concern for the hearing impaired. Most security systems, while it’s a smoke or carbon monoxide detector or a perimeter alert, work based on noise. They emit a high-frequency noise if there is a danger. Even people with minor hearing loss can have trouble hearing high pitched tones.

Personal security becomes a problem when a individual with hearing loss crosses the road or drives a car, too. Sound serves to indicate problems like a car coming down the street or a horn honking.

Cognitive Functioning

Medical science has made a connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss. It isn’t clear why people with hearing loss have a higher risk of dementia. The current theory is that the brain struggles to listen and to compensate, it robs other vital functions like short-term memory.

A 2011 study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine discovered that even a person with minor hearing loss is twice as likely to develop dementia. Moderate hearing loss increases the risk by three times and a person with severe hearing impairment is five times more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Hearing health is just one factor in memory loss conditions, but it is an important one.

When someone has hearing loss, it’s true there is probably something wrong with their ears, but that’s just where it begins. The good news is that getting help in the kind of hearing aids and other treatment options reduces the chance of mental health issues, dementia and the different issues related to hearing decline.