Imagine hearing loss and most people imagine an elderly person with an old-fashioned hearing aid saying, “What’s that sonny”? The fact is, hearing loss has escalated sharply among all age groups and it affects more than just your ability to hear. Surprising repercussions result from failing to get it treated. It’s worth having your hearing checked based solely on these four.
1. Cognitive Decline
There is a connection between hearing loss and other health issues, even though you might not have previously known about them. Brain health and cognitive function are the most significant examples. There is evidence that some conditions people associate with aging, such as memory loss, might actually 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. It’s that mechanism of hearing that permits 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.
The brain experiences sound every microsecond whether you think you are hearing something or not. If you are resting in a quiet room, there is still background noise around you, like the hiss of air blowing into the AC vent. Your brain interprets this as a sound you don’t need to hear, so you don’t notice it.
The brain comes to count on this stimulus. All of a sudden, when there is loss of hearing, the brain doesn’t get the same quality or quantity of sound. It struggles to hear the missing sound believing it should still be there. Your risk of dementia is increased because the absence of stimuli leads to cognitive decline as a result of increased stress on the brain. Memory loss and cognitive decline are forty percent more common in seniors with hearing loss, according to studies. Even more compelling, people who suffer from hearing loss that get treatment like hearings aids have been shown to improve cognitive ability.
2. Gut Trouble
That seems like it might seem far-fetched, but it’s not. Hearing loss leads to changes which are associated with:
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
The constant stress can manifest intestinal problems like:
- Abdominal cramps
More serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome will occur as your discomfort increases.
3. Mental Health Concerns
The most noticeable side effect is probably the affect hearing loss has on your mental health. A 2014 study found that a decline in hearing correlates to a rise in depression in adults below the age of 70.
People with 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 for women between the ages of 18 to 69 the depression is more prominent.
Over the years, many mental health problems have been linked to neglected hearing loss such as:
- Lack of focus
- Social withdrawal
People who can’t effectively communicate stop trying and that leads to depression and psychological anxiety.
4. Relationship Troubles
Your physical and mental health are not the only things that are impacted by hearing loss. 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 causes problems in personal relationships, as well. A 2007 survey found 35 percent of the respondents had a hard time maintaining relationships if they suffered from hearing loss. The survey showed:
- Most women indicated relationships with family members and friends were a significant concern with the hearing loss
- Thirty-seven percent of women interviewed reported getting irritated when someone 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.
- Forty-three percent of men indicated that hearing loss caused relationship problems
How you feel about yourself and the world and the state of your health are affected by hearing loss. It also has an effect on your relationships. What’s promising is many of these side effects go away or lesson when you get help like hearing aids. Schedule a hearing test to find out what course of action will work best for you.