Imagine hearing loss and many people picture an elderly person with an out-dated hearing aid saying, “What’s that sonny”? Impacting more than just your ability to hear, hearing loss has increased dramatically among all age groups. Shocking consequences result from failing to get it treated. It’s worth having your hearing checked based only on these four.
1. Cognitive Decline
There is a connection between hearing loss and other health issues, though you might not have previously been aware of them. Brain health and cognitive function are the most serious examples. Hearing decline is actually the cause of certain conditions which some people associate with aging.
The brain has an incredible 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 permits 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.
Even if you don’t notice it, the brain experiences sound every microsecond. Air hissing in through a vent and other ambient sounds are all around you even if you are resting in a quiet room. You don’t even notice it because your brain filters it out.
The brain comes to expect this stimulus. The brain doesn’t get the same quality or quantity of sound when there is hearing loss. Thinking the missing sound should still be there, it strains to find it. Your risk of dementia is increased because the absence of stimuli results in cognitive decline as a result of increased stress on the brain. Seniors have a forty percent higher instance of memory loss and cognitive decline if they suffer from hearing loss, according to studies. Even more persuasive is the fact that people have been shown to improve their cognitive functions if they have hearing loss and invest in hearing aids.
2. Stomach Problems
That seems like a stretch, but it’s not. Hearing loss leads to changes which are connected to:
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
The ongoing stress can cause intestinal problems like:
- Abdominal cramps
As the discomfort increases, you may find yourself with a more serious intestinal condition like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
3. Mental Health Concerns
More than likely, the most noticeable side effect is the impact hearing loss has on your mental health. A 2014 study found that an increase in depression correlates to a decline of hearing in adults under the age of 70.
The depression is most 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 suggests that depression is more pronounced in women between the ages of 18 to 69.
Through the years, the neglected hearing loss has been connected to many mental health conditions like:
- 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.
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:
- Most women indicated that hearing loss was a significant concern when communicating with friends and family members.
- Thirty-seven percent of women interviewed reported getting frustrated 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.
- Forty-three percent of men indicated that they had trouble with relationships due to their hearing loss
Hearing loss affects your health, your self-esteem, and 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.