Most people imagine an older person saying “what’s that sonny” when they picture hearing loss. Hearing loss affects more than just your ability to hear and has risen sharply amongst every age group. Alarming repercussions result from failing to get it treated. It’s worth getting your hearing checked based only on these four.
1. Cognitive Decline
There is an association between hearing loss and other health problems, even though you might not have previously been aware of them. Your cognitive function and brain health are the most serious example. There is evidence that some conditions people connect with aging, such as memory loss, may really be caused by hearing decline.
The brain’s innate ability to adapt to sensory changes backfires when it comes to hearing. For somebody with regular hearing, a sound is processed through the inner ear in a way that the brain can understand. This mechanism enables you to know the difference between the music coming from your car stereo and the music the ice cream truck plays when it drives down your street.
Even if you’re not aware of it, the brain encounters sound every microsecond. Air hissing in through a vent and other background sounds are around you even if you are relaxing in a quiet room. Your brain interprets this as a sound you don’t need to know about, so you don’t notice it.
This stimulus is something the brain comes to count on. When there is hearing loss, 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 stress on the brain and absence of stimuli can result in cognitive decline that raises 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 improve their cognitive functions if they suffer from hearing loss and invest in hearing aids.
2. Gut Issues
That’s not as much of a stretch as it seems. Side effects related to changes you experience due to hearing loss are:
- Muscle tension
- Upset stomach
The ongoing stress can cause intestinal issues like:
- Abdominal cramps
As the discomfort increases, you could find yourself with a more severe intestinal condition like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
3. Mental Health Problems
Probably, the most obvious side effect is the impact hearing loss has on your mental health. A 2014 study found that an increase in depression correlates to the loss of hearing in adults under the age of 70.
The depression is likely accounted for by the fact that people who have hearing loss have a hard time communicating with others, according to JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery. The research indicates that depression is more prominent in women between the ages of 18 to 69.
Over the years, the untreated hearing loss has been connected to many mental health problems such as:
- Social withdrawal
- Lack of focus
People stop trying if they can’t communicate successfully and that causes sadness and psychological strain.
4. Troubled Relationships
Your physical and mental health are not the only things that are impacted by hearing loss. People with poor hearing statistically make less money. A 2007 study conducted by the Better Hearing Institute found 20,000 dollars per year less is made by individuals with hearing loss in comparison to their hearing colleagues.
Personal relationships also suffer because of hearing loss. 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 somebody who has 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 your self-esteem. The good news is many of these side effects disappear 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.