An older person with an out-dated hearing aid saying “what’s that sonny”, is what many people think of when hearing loss is talked about. Having an effect on more than just your ability to hear, hearing loss has risen dramatically among all age groups. Alarming repercussions result from not getting it taken care of. Based solely on these four, it’s worth having your hearing checked.
1. Cognitive Decline
While you may not have previously known it, hearing loss can impact your overall health. The most significant is the impact hearing loss has on your cognitive functions and brain health. Hearing decline is the true cause of certain conditions which some people connect with aging.
The brain’s natural ability to adapt to sensory changes backfires when it comes to hearing. 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 enables you to identify the difference between the music coming from your car radio and the music the ice cream truck plays as it drives down your street.
Each microsecond, the brain experiences sound even if you don’t notice it. Air hissing in through a vent and other background sounds are all around you even if you are relaxing in a quiet room. Your brain filters it out because it decides you don’t need to hear it.
The brain comes to count on this stimulus. When there is hearing loss, all of a sudden it doesn’t receive the same quantity or quality of sound. It struggles to hear the missing sound thinking it should still be present. The absence of stimuli causes the brain to stress bringing about cognitive decline and a higher risk of dementia. Seniors have a forty percent higher instance of memory loss and cognitive decline if they have hearing loss, according to studies. Even more compelling is the fact that people have been shown to improve their cognitive ability if they suffer from hearing loss and get hearing aids.
2. Stomach Issues
That seems like a stretch, but it’s not. Side effects connected to changes you experience due to hearing loss are:
- Muscle tension
- Upset stomach
The constant strain can manifest intestinal problems like:
- Abdominal cramps
Irritable bowel syndrome or other more severe conditions will develop as the discomfort increases.
3. Mental Health Problems
The most obvious side effect is probably the impact hearing loss has on your mental health. A 2014 study found that a decline in hearing correlates to an increase in depression 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 shows that depression is more pronounced in women between the ages of 18 to 69.
Through the years, the untreated hearing loss has been connected to many mental health conditions including:
- Lack of focus
- Social withdrawal
Psychological stress and sadness are the outcome when someone can’t communicate effectively and stops trying.
4. Troubled Relationships
The adverse reactions of hearing loss impacts more than your physical and mental health. Statistically, people make less money if they have hearing loss. 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.
Personal relationships also suffer because of hearing loss. A 2007 survey found 35 percent of the respondents had a hard time maintaining relationships if they suffered from hearing loss. The survey showed:
- Thirty-seven percent of women questioned reported being frustrated when somebody who has hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
- Forty-three percent of men indicated that hearing loss caused relationship problems
- Thirty-five percent of men reported they agreed to treatment for hearing loss because their spouse or partner pressured them into it
- Most women indicated relationships with family members and friends were a significant concern with the hearing loss
Your self-esteem and the state of your health are impacted by hearing loss. It also has an effect on your relationships. When you get hearing aids quite a few of these side effects go away and that’s good news. Schedule a hearing test to find out what course of action will work best for you.