Most people picture an older person saying “what’s that sonny” when they think of hearing loss. Hearing loss has an effect on more than just your ability to hear and has risen sharply among every age group. If it is not treated it can cause alarming repercussions. These four alone make it worth having your hearing checked.
1. Mental Decline
Hearing is a sense that you might not associate with other health problems but there is a connection. Your cognitive function and brain health are the most serious example. Some conditions frequently connected to aging are really caused by hearing loss.
The brain’s inherent 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. This mechanism allows you to know the difference between the music coming from your car stereo and the music the ice cream truck plays when 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 around you even if you are resting 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. When there is hearing loss, all of a sudden it doesn’t get the same quantity or quality of sound. It strains to find the missing sound believing it should still be present. Your chance of dementia is increased as the absence of stimuli results in cognitive decline as a result of increased stress on the brain. Seniors have a forty percent higher rate of memory loss and cognitive decline if they suffer from hearing loss, according to studies. Even more persuasive, people who suffer from hearing loss that get treatment like hearings aids have been shown to enhance cognitive ability.
2. Stomach Trouble
That’s not as far-fetched as it seems. Side effects connected to changes you experience because of hearing loss are:
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
The continuous stress can cause intestinal problems like:
- Abdominal cramps
Irritable bowel syndrome or other more serious conditions will develop as the discomfort increases.
3. Mental Health Problems
The most obvious side effect is probably the affect hearing loss has on your mental health. A 2014 study found that in adults below the age of 70, an increase in depression correlates to a loss of hearing.
The depression is most likely accounted for by the fact that people who have hearing loss have a tough time communicating with others, according to JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery. 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 problems including:
- Lack of focus
- Social withdrawal
People stop trying if they can’t communicate successfully and that leads to sadness and psychological stress.
4. Relationship Troubles
Hearing loss impacts more than just your physical and mental health. People with poor hearing statistically 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.
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 that hearing loss was a significant concern when communicating with friends and family members.
- Thirty-seven percent of women interviewed reported being irritated when someone with hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
- Forty-three percent of men indicated that hearing loss caused relationship problems
- 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. The good news 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.