We all put things off, routinely talking ourselves out of stressful or uncomfortable chores in favor of something more pleasing or fun. Distractions abound as we tell ourselves that we will eventually get around to whatever we’re presently working hard to avoid.
Usually, procrastination is relatively harmless. We might wish to clear out the basement, for instance, by tossing or donating the items we seldom use. A clean basement sounds great, but the activity of actually hauling things to the donation center is not so pleasurable. In the consideration of short-term pleasure, it’s very easy to notice myriad alternatives that would be more enjoyable—so you put it off.
In other cases, procrastination is not so innocent, and when it comes to hearing loss, it could be downright dangerous. While no one’s idea of a good time is getting a hearing examination, current research reveals that neglected hearing loss has significant physical, mental, and social consequences.
To understand why, you have to begin with the impact of hearing loss on the brain itself. Here’s a recognizable analogy: if any of you have ever broken a bone, let’s say your leg, you know what occurs just after you take the cast off. You’ve lost muscle mass and strength from inactivity, because if you don’t routinely make use of your muscles, they get weaker.
The same takes place with your brain. If you under-utilize the region of your brain that processes sounds, your capacity to process auditory information grows weaker. Scientists even have a term for this: they refer to it as “auditory deprivation.”
Returning to the broken leg example. Let’s say you took the cast off your leg but persisted to not use the muscles, relying on crutches to get around the same as before. What would happen? Your leg muscles would get increasingly weaker. The same happens with your brain; the longer you go with hearing loss, the a smaller amount of sound stimulation your brain gets, and the worse your hearing gets.
That, in essence, is auditory deprivation, which can cause a host of different conditions the latest research is continuing to uncover. For example, a study directed by Johns Hopkins University reported that those with hearing loss experience a 40% decline in cognitive function when compared to those with regular hearing, along with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.
General cognitive decline also creates serious mental and social consequences. A major study by The National Council on the Aging (NCOA) observed that those with neglected hearing loss were much more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia, and were less likely to partake in social activities, compared to those who wear hearing aids.
So what begins as an inconvenience—not having the ability to hear people clearly—brings about a downward spiral that impacts all aspects of your health. The sequence of events is clear: Hearing loss brings about auditory deprivation, which leads to general cognitive decline, which creates psychological harm, including depression and anxiety, which ultimately leads to social isolation, damaged relationships, and an elevated risk of developing serious medical conditions.
The Benefits of Hearing Aids
So that was the bad news. The good news is just as encouraging. Let’s visit the broken leg example one last time. As soon as the cast comes off, you start working out and stimulating the muscles, and after some time, you recoup your muscle mass and strength.
The same process once again is applicable to hearing. If you increase the stimulation of sound to your brain with hearing aids, you can recover your brain’s ability to process and comprehend sound. This leads to better communication, improved psychological health, and ultimately to better relationships. And, in fact, according to The National Council on the Aging, hearing aid users report improvements in virtually every aspect of their lives.
Are you ready to experience the same improvement?