An older person with an out-dated hearing aid saying “what’s that sonny”, is what the majority of people think about when hearing loss is talked about. Impacting more than just your ability to hear, hearing loss has increased sharply among all age groups. Surprising consequences result from not having it treated. It’s worth having your hearing checked based solely on these four.
1. Mental Decline
Hearing is a sense that you may not link to other health troubles but there is a connection. Brain health and cognitive function are the most serious examples. There is evidence that some conditions people associate with aging, such as memory loss, may really be caused by hearing decline.
The brain’s inherent ability to adjust to sensory changes backfires when it comes to hearing. For someone with normal hearing, a sound is processed through the inner ear in a way that the brain can understand. This mechanism allows you to know the difference between the music coming from your car stereo 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. You don’t even notice it because your brain filters it out.
This stimulus is something the brain comes to count on. Suddenly, when there is hearing loss, the brain doesn’t get the same quality or quantity of sound. Thinking the missing sound should still be there, it strains to find it. The stress on the brain and absence of stimuli can bring about cognitive decline that increases your chances of dementia later in life. Memory loss and cognitive decline are forty percent more common in seniors with hearing loss, according to studies. People have been shown, even more compellingly, to improve their cognitive ability if they have hearing loss and they invest in hearing aids.
2. Stomach Issues
That seems like it might seem far-fetched, but it’s not. The changes you experience because of hearing loss have been connected to side effects like:
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
The ongoing strain can cause intestinal issues like:
- Abdominal cramps
More serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome will happen as your discomfort increases.
3. Mental Health Problems
The impact hearing loss has on your mental health is more than likely the most noticeable side effect. 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 tough time communicating with others, according to JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery, and that most likely accounts for the depression. The research shows that for women between the ages of 18 to 69 the depression is more prominent.
Through the years, the untreated hearing loss has been linked to many mental health conditions like:
- Lack of focus
- Social withdrawal
People who can’t successfully communicate stop trying and that leads to sadness and psychological anxiety.
4. Relationship Troubles
Hearing loss impacts more than just 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 with hearing loss had trouble maintaining relationships. The survey showed:
- Forty-three percent of men indicated that hearing loss caused relationship problems
- Thirty-seven percent of women interviewed reported getting annoyed 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.
- Most women indicated that hearing loss was a significant concern when communicating with friends and family members.
Hearing loss has an effect on your relationships as well as your health and your self-esteem. When you get hearing aids quite a few 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.