Imagine hearing loss and many people picture an older person with an out-dated hearing aid saying, “What’s that sonny”? Having an effect on more than just your ability to hear, hearing loss has increased sharply among all age groups. If it is not treated it can cause surprising repercussions. Based only on these four, it’s worth having your hearing examined.
1. Mental Decline
There is a connection between hearing loss and other health problems, though you may not have previously been aware of them. Your cognitive function and brain health are the most serious example. There is evidence that some conditions people connect with aging, such as memory loss, may really be caused by hearing decline.
The brain’s natural ability to adapt to sensory changes backfires when it comes to hearing. The brain can understand sound that is processed through the inner ear when hearing is normal. The difference between the music coming from your car radio and the music the ice cream truck plays as it heads down the street is processed by this mechanism.
Every microsecond, the brain experiences sound even if you don’t notice it. Air hissing in through a vent and other background sounds are around you even if you are sitting in a quiet room. Your brain interprets this as a sound you don’t need to know about, so you don’t notice it.
This stimulus is something the brain comes to count on. The brain doesn’t get the same quality or quantity of sound when there is hearing loss. It still thinks it’s there, though and strains to find it. The stress on the brain and lack of stimuli can bring about cognitive decline that raises your risk of dementia later in your life. Seniors have a forty percent higher rate of memory loss and cognitive decline if they have hearing loss, according to studies. People have been shown, even more compellingly, to increase their cognitive functions if they suffer from hearing loss and they invest in hearing aids.
2. Stomach Problems
That’s not as far-fetched as it seems. Side effects associated with changes you experience because of hearing loss are:
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
The ongoing strain can cause intestinal problems like:
- Abdominal cramps
More severe conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome will happen as your discomfort increases.
3. Mental Health Concerns
Probably, the most noticeable 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.
People who suffer from hearing loss have a hard time communicating with others, according to JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery, and that likely accounts for the depression. The research indicates that depression is more pronounced in women between the ages of 18 to 69.
Over the years, many mental health conditions have been linked to untreated hearing loss such as:
- Lack of focus
- Social withdrawal
People who can’t effectively communicate stop trying and that leads to sadness and psychological strain.
4. Troubled Relationships
The negative effects of hearing loss invade more than your physical and mental health. Statistically, if a person has hearing loss, they will probably make less money. A 2007 study conducted by the Better Hearing Institute found 20,000 dollars per year less is made by individuals with hearing loss in comparison to their hearing colleagues.
Hearing loss brings about problems in personal relationships, too. A 2007 survey found 35 percent of the respondents with hearing loss had trouble maintaining relationships. The survey showed:
- Forty-three percent of men indicated that hearing loss caused relationship problems
- Most women indicated relationships with family members and friends were a significant concern with the hearing loss
- Thirty-seven percent of women questioned reported getting irritated when someone who has 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 how you feel about yourself. What’s promising is many of these side effects go away or lesson when you get help such as hearing aids. Make an appointment with a hearing care specialist to learn what solution works best for you.