An older person with an old-fashioned hearing aid saying “what’s that sonny”, is what the majority of people think of when hearing loss is talked about. Hearing loss impacts more than just your ability to hear and has increased dramatically amongst every age group. Alarming repercussions result from not having it taken care of. It’s worth having your hearing checked based solely on these four.
1. Mental Decline
There is a connection between hearing loss and other health issues, though you may not have previously been aware of them. Your cognitive function and brain health are the most serious example. Some conditions commonly connected to aging are in fact caused by hearing loss.
The brain has a fantastic ability to adapt to sensory changes, but that backfires when it comes to hearing loss. Sound is processed through the inner ear in a way the brain can understand if hearing is normal. This mechanism enables you to tell the difference between the music coming from your car stereo and the music the ice cream truck plays as it drives down your street.
Each microsecond, the brain experiences sound even if you’re not aware of it. If you are relaxing in a quiet room, there is still ambient noise around you, like the hiss of air blowing through the AC vent. You don’t notice it because your brain filters it out.
This stimulus is something the brain comes to count on. When there is loss of hearing, suddenly it doesn’t get the same quantity or quality of sound. Thinking the missing sound should still be there, it struggles to find it. The lack of stimuli causes the brain to stress resulting in cognitive decline and a higher risk of dementia. Studies have shown that memory loss and cognitive decline is about 40 percent higher in seniors who suffer from hearing loss. Even more persuasive is the fact that people have been shown to increase their cognitive functions if they have hearing loss and get hearing aids.
2. Gut Trouble
That seems like it might seem far-fetched, but it’s not. The changes you experience due to hearing loss have been related to side effects like:
- Muscle tension
- Upset stomach
The constant strain can cause intestinal problems like:
- Abdominal cramps
More severe conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome will happen as your discomfort increases.
3. Mental Health Problems
More than likely, the most obvious side effect is the affect hearing loss has on your mental health. A 2014 study found that a loss in hearing correlates to an increase in depression in adults below the age of 70.
The depression is likely accounted for by the fact that people who suffer from hearing loss have a difficult time communicating with others, according to JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery. The research suggests that depression is more pronounced in women between the ages of 18 to 69.
Over the years, many mental health problems have been connected to untreated hearing loss such as:
- Lack of focus
- Social withdrawal
People stop trying if they can’t communicate effectively and that leads to 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.
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-seven percent of women questioned reported being 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 Had to be pressured into getting treatment by their partner or spouse before they would agree to it.
Hearing loss affects your health, your self-esteem, as well as your relationships. What’s promising is many of these side effects go away or lesson when you get help like hearing aids. Make an appointment with a hearing care specialist to learn what solution works best for you.