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

Are you taken aback to learn that hearing loss is about more than just your ears? Ears are the mechanisms of hearing, so the harm done to them due to aging, injury or disease 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 is a dramatic change for someone who has always been able to hear. Take some ways that hearing loss has a significant 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 earning potential and hearing. They discovered that an individual with hearing loss will possibly make about 25 percent less than those that do listen, but why?

There are a lot of things that could impact earnings. Someone who works with no hearing assistance device such as a hearing aid may miss out on serious material. They might appear for a business meeting at 4 if it was really at 2 pm, for instance. Employers tend to appreciate those with keen attention to detail, and that’s a challenge when you can not hear the specifics.

Work environments can be loud and chaotic, too. A individual with hearing loss can become confused with that sound around them. They will struggle to talk on the phone, to listen to customers and to understand what colleagues are saying because in a loud environment the desktop sounds like clicking keyboards or an air conditioner vent become pronounced.

Relationships

Some of the 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 person to recognize their hearing loss, and that leads to friction, also. It’s very common for people with hearing loss to isolate themselves and refuse to go out and spend time with others. They struggle to keep up with conversations, so that they so what the can to prevent 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 found a cause and effect relationship between hearing loss and depression. Their research suggests an increased risk of depression, particularly among girls and individuals under the age of 70. Their risk of depression goes from 5 percent to about 11 percent with hearing loss.

A second study by the Senior Research Group indicates that the chance of mental health problems including depression, anxiety and paranoia goes up when a person with hearing loss does not use hearing aids. The study participants who did not wear hearing aids reported everything from feelings of sadness to sudden fits of anger more often than those that did wear them.

Safety Issues

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

Personal security becomes an issue when a individual with hearing loss crosses the street or drives a car, too. Sound serves to signal 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’s not clear why people with hearing loss have a greater risk of dementia. The current theory is that the brain struggles to listen and to compensate, it robs other vital functions like memory.

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

When someone has hearing loss, it is true there’s likely 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 lowers the risk of mental health problems, dementia and the various issues associated with hearing decline.