Most people think of an older person saying “what’s that sonny” when they picture hearing loss. Having an effect on more than just your ability to hear, hearing loss has risen sharply among all age groups. There are surprising health effects for people who ignore it. Based solely on these four, it’s worth having your hearing examined.
1. Cognitive Decline
Hearing is a sense that you may not link to other health troubles but there is an association. Your cognitive function and brain health are the most serious example. There is evidence that some conditions people associate with aging, like memory loss, might really be caused by hearing decline.
When it comes to hearing loss, the brain’s innate ability to adapt to sensory changes backfires. Sound is processed through the inner ear in a way the brain can understand if hearing is normal. The difference between the music coming from 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’re not aware of it, the brain experiences sound every microsecond. Air hissing in through a vent and other background sounds are all around you even if you are sitting in a quiet room. You don’t notice it because your brain filters it out.
The brain comes to count on this stimulus. The brain doesn’t get the same quality or quantity of sound when there is hearing loss. It struggles to hear the missing sound believing it should still be present. The lack of stimuli causes stress to the brain resulting in cognitive decline and a higher risk of dementia. Seniors have a forty percent higher instance of memory loss and cognitive decline if they suffer from hearing loss, according to studies. Even more compelling is the fact that people have been shown to improve their cognitive functions if they suffer from hearing loss and invest in hearing aids.
2. Stomach Trouble
That seems like it might seem far-fetched, but it’s not. Side effects connected to changes you experience because of hearing loss are:
- Muscle tension
- Upset stomach
The constant strain can manifest intestinal problems like:
- Abdominal cramps
Irritable bowel syndrome or other more severe conditions will develop as the discomfort increases.
3. Mental Health Problems
The impact hearing loss has on your mental health is more than likely the most significant side effect. A 2014 study found that a loss in hearing correlates to a rise 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 hard 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.
Through the years, the neglected hearing loss has been linked to many mental health problems like:
- Lack of focus
- Social withdrawal
People who aren’t able to effectively communicate stop trying and that leads to sadness and psychological anxiety.
4. Relationship Troubles
The side effects of hearing loss impacts more than 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.
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:
- Thirty-seven percent of women interviewed reported being annoyed when somebody with 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 relationships with family members and friends were a significant concern with the hearing loss
- 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. When you get hearing aids many of these side effects disappear and that’s good news. Schedule a hearing test to find out what course of action will work best for you.