An elderly person with an old-fashioned hearing aid saying “what’s that sonny”, is what most people think of when hearing loss is mentioned. Hearing loss affects more than just your ability to hear and has risen dramatically among all age groups. Alarming repercussions result from not getting it treated. It’s worth getting your hearing checked based solely on these four.
1. Mental Decline
Though you might not have previously known it, hearing loss can affect your overall health. Your cognitive function and brain health are the most serious example. There is evidence that some conditions people connect with aging, like 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. This mechanism allows you to tell the difference between the music playing on your car stereo and the music the ice cream truck plays as it goes down your street.
Even if you don’t notice it, the brain encounters sound every microsecond. Air hissing in through a vent and other ambient sounds are all around you even if you are relaxing in a quiet room. You don’t notice it because your brain filters it out.
The brain comes to count on this stimulus. When there is hearing loss, all of a sudden it doesn’t get the same quantity or quality of sound. Believing the missing sound should still be there, it struggles to find it. The absence of stimuli causes the brain to stress bringing about cognitive decline and a higher risk of dementia. Memory loss and cognitive decline are forty percent more common in seniors with hearing loss, according to studies. 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. Stomach Problems
That’s not as much of a stretch as it seems. The changes you experience due to hearing loss have been connected to side effects like:
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
The ongoing stress can manifest intestinal issues like:
- Abdominal cramps
Irritable bowel syndrome or other more serious conditions will develop as the discomfort increases.
3. Mental Health Concerns
The most obvious side effect is probably the impact hearing loss has on your mental health. A 2014 study found that a decline in hearing correlates to a rise 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 likely accounts for the depression. The research suggests that depression is more prominent in women between the ages of 18 to 69.
Over the years, many mental health conditions have been linked to untreated hearing loss such as:
- Lack of focus
- Social withdrawal
Psychological stress and depression are the result when a person can’t communicate successfully and stops trying.
4. Troubled Relationships
The adverse reactions of hearing loss impacts more than 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 with hearing loss had trouble maintaining relationships. 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 surveyed reported being irritated 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.
- Forty-three percent of men indicated that they had trouble with relationships due to their hearing loss
How you feel about yourself and the world and the state of your health are impacted 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.