Most people imagine an older person saying “what’s that sonny” when they think of hearing loss. The fact is, hearing loss has escalated sharply among all age groups and it impacts more than just your ability to hear. There are shocking health effects for people who ignore it. Based only on these four, it’s worth having your hearing checked.
1. Cognitive Decline
There is an association between hearing loss and other health issues, although you might not have previously been aware of them. The most serious is the impact hearing loss has on your cognitive functions and brain health. There is evidence that some conditions people connect with aging, such as memory loss, may really be caused by hearing decline.
When it comes to hearing loss, the brain’s natural ability to adapt to sensory changes backfires. The brain can understand sound that is processed through the inner ear when hearing is normal. This mechanism enables you to tell the difference between the music playing on your car stereo and the music the ice cream truck plays as it heads down your street.
Even if you don’t notice it, the brain experiences sound every microsecond. Air hissing in through a vent and other background sounds are all around you even if you are relaxing in a quiet room. You don’t even notice it because your brain filters it out.
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 loss of hearing. It still thinks it’s there, though and strains to find it. Your chance of dementia is increased as the absence of stimuli causes cognitive decline due to increased stress on the brain. Studies show that memory loss and cognitive decline is about 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 improve cognitive ability.
2. Stomach Problems
That’s not as far-fetched as it seems. Side effects related to changes you experience due to hearing loss are:
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
The constant stress can manifest intestinal problems like:
- Abdominal cramps
More serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome will happen as your discomfort increases.
3. Mental Health Problems
The most noticeable side effect is probably the affect hearing loss has on your mental health. A 2014 study found that in adults under the age of 70, an increase in depression correlates to a decline in hearing.
People with hearing loss have a hard time communicating with others, according to JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery, and that probably accounts for the depression. The research shows that for women between the ages of 18 to 69 the depression is more pronounced.
Over the years, the neglected hearing loss has been connected to many mental health conditions like:
- Social withdrawal
- Lack of focus
Psychological strain and depression are the outcome when a person can’t communicate effectively and stops trying.
4. Relationship Troubles
The adverse reactions 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 individuals with untreated hearing loss make on average 20,000 dollars less a year than 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-five percent of men Had to be pressured into getting treatment by their partner or spouse before they would agree to it.
- Most women indicated relationships with family members and friends were a significant concern with the hearing loss
- Forty-three percent of men indicated that they had trouble with relationships due to their hearing loss
- Thirty-seven percent of women questioned reported being annoyed when somebody with hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
Hearing loss affects your health, your self-esteem, as well as your relationships. 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 will work best for you.