Most people picture an older person saying “what’s that sonny” when they picture hearing loss. Hearing loss impacts more than just your ability to hear and has risen dramatically amongst all age groups. If it goes untreated it can cause startling effects. These four by themselves make it worth having your hearing examined.
1. Mental Decline
Hearing is a sense that you might not link to other health issues but there is a connection. Brain health and cognitive function are the most significant examples. There is evidence that some conditions people connect with aging, such as memory loss, might actually be caused by hearing decline.
The brain’s innate ability to adjust 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. The difference between the music playing on your car radio and the music the ice cream truck plays as it heads down the street is sorted out by this mechanism.
Even if you don’t notice it, the brain encounters sound every microsecond. If you are sitting in a quiet room, there is still ambient 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 know about, so you don’t even notice it.
The brain comes to expect this stimulus. When there is hearing loss, suddenly it doesn’t receive the same quantity or quality of sound. Believing the missing sound should still be there, it strains to find it. The fatigue on the brain and absence of stimuli can bring about cognitive decline that increases your risk of dementia later on in life. Memory loss and cognitive decline are forty percent more common in seniors with hearing loss, according to studies. Even more compelling is the fact that people have been shown to increase 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 because of hearing loss are:
- Muscle tension
- Upset stomach
The constant strain can cause intestinal problems like:
- Abdominal cramps
More serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome will occur as your discomfort increases.
3. Mental Health Concerns
The impact hearing loss has on your mental health is more than likely the most significant side effect. A 2014 study found that a decline in hearing correlates to an increase in depression in adults under the age of 70.
People who suffer from hearing loss have a tough time communicating with others, according to JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery, and that probably accounts for the depression. The research indicates that depression is more prominent in women between the ages of 18 to 69.
Through the years, the neglected hearing loss has been linked to many mental health problems like:
- Social withdrawal
- Lack of focus
People stop trying if they can’t communicate effectively and that causes sadness and psychological stress.
4. Troubled Relationships
Hearing loss impacts more than just 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 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, too. 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 getting frustrated when somebody who has hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
- Forty-three percent of men indicated that hearing loss caused relationship problems
- Most women indicated relationships with family members and friends were a significant concern with the hearing loss
- Thirty-five percent of men reported they agreed to treatment for hearing loss because their spouse or partner pressured them into it
Your self-esteem 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 such as hearing aids. Schedule a hearing test to find out what course of action will work best for you.