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 more than just your ears? Ears are the method of hearing, so the damage done to them due to aging, trauma or disease is why someone can’t hear, but did you know there is more to it than the loss of a person’s hearing bleeds into a number of other facets of their life. It’s a dramatic change for someone who has always been able to hear. Consider 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 link between earning potential and hearing. They discovered that an individual with hearing loss could potentially make about 25 percent less than the ones that do hear, but why?

There are many things that could impact earnings. Someone who works with no hearing assistance device like a hearing aid might miss out on crucial material. They may appear for a company meeting at 4 if it was really at 2 pm, for example. Employers tend to value those with astute attention to detail, and that’s a challenge when you can not hear the details.

Working environments can be noisy and crazy, too. A person with hearing loss can quickly become confused with that sound around them. They’ll struggle to talk on the phone, to listen to clients and to understand what colleagues are saying because in a loud environment the background sounds like clacking keyboards or an air conditioner vent become pronounced.

Relationships

Some of the same problems at work become an issue at home. Hearing loss has the potential to cause conflict, particularly when the individual with the problem continues to deny it. Little things such as saying “what” a lot during conversations and turning the TV up too loud irritate friends, relatives, 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 some time with others. They struggle to keep up with conversations, so they so what the can to avoid them.

Mental Health Concerns

The issues 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 melancholy. Their research indicates an increased risk of depression, particularly among women and individuals under the age of 70. Their risk of depression goes from 5 percent to approximately 11 percent with hearing loss.

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

Safety Issues

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

Personal safety becomes a problem when a individual with hearing loss spans the road 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 link 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 short-term memory.

A 2011 study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine found 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 forms of dementia. Hearing health is just one factor in memory loss conditions, but it’s an important one.

When someone has hearing loss, it’s true there’s likely something wrong with their ears, but that’s just where it starts. 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 different issues related to hearing decline.