Most people imagine an elderly person saying “what’s that sonny” when they think of hearing loss. The fact is, hearing loss has risen dramatically among all age groups and it affects more than just your ability to hear. There are shocking health effects for people who neglect it. It’s worth having your hearing checked based only on these four.
1. Cognitive Decline
Although you may not have previously known it, hearing loss can impact your overall health. Your cognitive function and brain health are the most significant example. Some conditions commonly associated with aging are in fact caused by hearing loss.
When it comes to hearing loss, the brain’s natural ability to adjust to sensory changes backfires. For somebody with regular hearing, a sound is processed through the inner ear in a way that the brain can understand. It’s that mechanism of hearing that permits you to recognize the difference between the music coming from your car radio 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. There is still background sound around you even if you are resting in a quiet room, such as air hissing in through a vent. Your brain interprets this as a sound you don’t need to hear, so you don’t even notice it.
The brain comes to count on this stimulus. The brain doesn’t get the same quality or quantity of sound when there is loss of hearing. Thinking the missing sound should still be there, it struggles to find it. The absence of stimuli causes stress to the brain resulting in cognitive decline and a greater risk of dementia. Memory loss and cognitive decline are forty percent more common in seniors with hearing loss, according to studies. People have been shown, even more compellingly, to improve their cognitive ability if they suffer from hearing loss and they get hearing aids.
2. Gut Problems
That seems like a stretch, but it’s not. Side effects related to changes you experience because of hearing loss are:
- Muscle tension
- Upset stomach
The ongoing strain can cause intestinal problems like:
- Abdominal cramps
As the discomfort increases, you might find yourself with a more serious intestinal condition like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
3. Mental Health Problems
The affect hearing loss has on your mental health is more than likely the most significant side effect. A 2014 study found that in adults below the age of 70, an increase in depression correlates to a loss of hearing.
People who suffer from hearing loss have a tough time communicating with others, according to JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery, and that most likely accounts for the depression. The research indicates that depression is more pronounced 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
People who aren’t able to successfully communicate stop trying and that leads to depression and psychological strain.
4. Troubled Relationships
Hearing loss impacts more than just 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.
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:
- Thirty-five percent of men reported they agreed to treatment for hearing loss because their spouse or partner pressured them into it
- Forty-three percent of men indicated that hearing loss caused relationship problems
- Thirty-seven percent of women interviewed reported getting annoyed when somebody with hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
- Most women indicated that hearing loss was a significant concern when communicating with friends and family members.
Your self-esteem and the state of your health are impacted by hearing loss. It also has an effect on your relationships. When you get hearing aids quite a few of these side effects go away and that’s good news. Make an appointment with a hearing care specialist to learn what solution works best for you.