Hearing loss affects more than 36-million seniors across America. Losing your hearing is a part of life that you can’t avoid – it’s a natural part of aging. Age-related hearing loss is a treatable condition – however, many seniors don’t realize they have a hearing problem, and it takes someone close to them to mention their disability before they notice it themselves.
Seniors who refuse treatment due to the embarrassment of admitting their hearing is failing, run the risk of developing severe mental health issues that affect their psychological state. Here are the top mental health issues associated with age-related hearing loss, and what you can do to prevent them from happening to you.
Hearing loss takes its toll on your relationships. While you may have no issue with listening to the television at maximum volume, your partner may not enjoy it, seeking the comfort of quiet in another room. People with advanced hearing loss may not hear the doorbell or phone when it rings, and they may not understand their partner calling them for dinner, or to help with a task.
Hearing loss will eventually result in a breakdown of communication. This disruption affects your spouse, as well as your social circle. Seniors who are suffering from hearing loss may frequently ask people to repeat themselves because they couldn’t hear them. As a result, the affected individual may start to avoid conversation, resulting in a withdrawal from their social standing.
As a result of removing themselves from their social circle, the affected senior may start to experience solitude. Human beings are social creatures, and when we are left to fend for ourselves with no emotional support, we begin to focus our thoughts inward, resulting in a host of mental health issues related to loneliness.
This solitude is especially hard on seniors that live by themselves, without a partner or assisted caregiver. Their hearing loss makes them less likely to experience any joy in life. Instead, they spend their days wallowing in self-pity. This downward spiral of negativity begins to degrade their emotional state further, resulting in the onset of depression.
When loneliness starts to penetrate the human psyche, it can lead to negative thinking. Affected individuals may begin to think that no-one cares about them. As a result, they withdraw completely from any contact with others and deal with thoughts of suicide.
Depression is a severe emotional disruption, and feeling negative emotions all day, every day – is no way to live your life. Unfortunately, seniors who experience depression often have no-one to pull them out of their mental state, resulting in the onset of further complications with their mental health.
Anxiety and depression work hand-in-hand to destroy the mental health of seniors affected by hearing loss. The loneliness of social isolation, combined with depression may leave the affected individual experiencing panic attacks as their mind tries to come to terms with their situation.
Panic attacks can be a severe health problem for seniors – especially those with cardiovascular issues.
Anxiety issues also affect the mind and the circadian rhythm, those seniors with anxiety issues related to a loss of hearing may think they are experiencing a heart attack. While this is not the case, the condition can cause cardiovascular complications.
Insomniais the experience of not being asleep and not being awake. The affected individual spends their nights tossing and turning, unable to fall into REM sleep. As a result, insomnia intensifies feelings of anxiety and depression, reducing cognitive capabilities and furthering emotional distress.
When the brain has less stimulus due to hearing loss, as well as high levels of emotional distress from conditions like insomnia, anxiety, and depression, it may trigger the advancement of neurological, cognitive diseases, such as dementia.
Dementia is a severe mental health disorder that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Affected individuals find that they have issues with memory recall, as well as thinking clearly. If left unmanaged, the person may become so ravaged by dementia that they become a shell of their former self.
This condition occurs when the mind does not understand what is wrong with the body. Malaise is a feeling of dread and uncertainty, and it’s a terrible condition for any senior to experience. Malaise only lifts when the affected individual receives a diagnosis of the situation. As soon as the brain realizes that the problem is treatable, and they have a chance at recovery – the malaise lifts.
Treating Hearing Loss with a Hearing Aid
Hearing aids are a practical solution to providing relief from hearing loss. Most hearing aids are lightweight, have a comfortable fit, and provide excellent user functionality and features. Many seniors who try a hearing aid are embarrassed to do so at first.
However, after a few months with the device – they wonder how they ever managed without it in the first place. Hearing devices allow seniors to remain socially active, relieving the pressure of social isolation and psychological distress.
With so many hearing aids available, how do you know which one to buy? Do you need to spend a significant amount of money on your device?
In Closing – Ask Your Specialist for Advice
If you can’t decide on the best hearing aids for your condition, turn to your audiologist for advice. Bring your top choices to your specialist and ask them for their opinion on which hearing devices you should purchase.
Many seniors work with a budget determined by their pension. They don’t have the money to splurge thousands of dollars on the latest tech and may feel that they need the most expensive model. However, there are plenty of cheap hearing aids available at your online retailer. Hearing aids cost a bundle if you try to use your insurance to purchase the device.
However, there are plenty of affordable hearing aids from quality manufacturers available online. Check out hearing aid reviews for pricing on hearing aid devices, as well as user feedback on the device you’re interested in purchasing. Hearing aid price should never be the determining factor for buying your device.