An elderly person with an old-fashioned hearing aid saying “what’s that sonny”, is what most people think about when hearing loss is talked about. Impacting more than just your ability to hear, hearing loss has risen sharply amongst all age groups. If it is not treated it can cause alarming repercussions. It’s worth getting your hearing examined based only on these four.
1. Cognitive Decline
Though you may not have previously known it, hearing loss can affect your general health. Your cognitive function and brain health are the most significant example. There is evidence that some conditions people associate with aging, such as memory loss, might actually be caused by hearing decline.
When it comes to hearing loss, the brain’s inherent ability to adjust to sensory changes backfires. Sound is processed through the inner ear in a way the brain can understand if hearing is normal. It’s that mechanism of hearing that allows you to recognize the difference between the music coming from your car radio and the music the ice cream truck plays as it drives down your street.
The brain experiences sound every microsecond whether you think you are hearing something or not. There is still ambient sound around you even if you are sitting in a quiet room, such as air hissing in through a vent. You don’t notice it because your brain filters it out.
The brain comes to count on this stimulus. When there is loss of hearing, suddenly it doesn’t get the same quantity or quality of sound. It still thinks it’s there, though and strains to find it. The stress on the brain and lack of stimuli can cause cognitive decline that increases your chances of dementia later on in life. Studies have shown that memory loss and cognitive decline is around 40 percent greater in seniors who suffer from hearing loss. Even more persuasive, people who suffer from hearing loss that get treatment like hearings aids have been shown to enhance cognitive function.
2. Stomach Issues
That’s not as far-fetched as it seems. Side effects connected to changes you experience because of hearing loss are:
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
The continuous stress can cause intestinal issues like:
- Abdominal cramps
Irritable bowel syndrome or other more serious conditions will develop as the discomfort increases.
3. Mental Health Problems
More than likely, the most apparent side effect is the affect hearing loss has on your mental health. A 2014 study found that an increase in depression correlates to the loss of hearing in adults below the age of 70.
The depression is most likely accounted for by the fact that people who suffer from hearing loss have a tough time communicating with others, according to JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery. The research suggests that depression is more pronounced in women between the ages of 18 to 69.
Over the years, many mental health problems have been linked to neglected hearing loss such as:
- Social withdrawal
- Lack of focus
People stop trying if they can’t communicate successfully and that causes sadness and psychological strain.
4. Relationship Troubles
The side effects of hearing loss invade more than your physical and mental health. People with poor hearing statistically make less money. A 2007 study conducted by the Better Hearing Institute found individuals with untreated hearing loss make on average 20,000 dollars less a year than their hearing colleagues.
Hearing loss creates problems in personal relationships, too. A 2007 survey found 35 percent of the respondents had a hard time maintaining relationships if they suffered from hearing loss. The survey showed:
- Forty-three percent of men indicated that they had trouble with relationships due to their hearing loss
- Most women indicated that hearing loss was a significant concern when communicating with friends and family members.
- Thirty-seven percent of women questioned reported being annoyed when somebody with hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
- Thirty-five percent of men Had to be pressured into getting treatment by their partner or spouse before they would agree to it.
Hearing loss has an effect on your relationships as well as your health and your self-esteem. When you get hearing aids many of these side effects go away and that’s good news. Schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist to find out what course of action is best for you.