An elderly person with an out-dated hearing aid saying “what’s that sonny”, is what the majority of people think about when hearing loss is mentioned. The fact is, hearing loss has risen dramatically among all age groups and it has an effect on more than just your ability to hear. If it goes untreated it can cause shocking repercussions. It’s worth getting your hearing tested based only on these four.
1. Mental Decline
There is an association between hearing loss and other health problems, even though you may not have previously known about them. The most significant is the impact hearing loss has on your cognitive functions and brain health. Hearing decline is the true cause of certain conditions which some people connect with aging.
When it comes to hearing loss, the brain’s inherent ability to adjust to sensory changes backfires. The brain can understand sound that is processed through the inner ear when hearing is normal. This mechanism permits you to tell the difference between the music playing on your car stereo and the music the ice cream truck plays when it heads down your street.
The brain experiences sound each microsecond whether you think you are hearing something or not. Air hissing in through a vent and other ambient sounds are around you even if you are relaxing in a quiet room. Your brain filters it out because it decides you don’t need to hear it.
The brain comes to expect this stimulus. When there is loss of hearing, suddenly it doesn’t get the same quantity or quality of sound. It strains to hear the missing sound believing it should still be present. Your risk of dementia is increased because the absence of stimuli leads to cognitive decline as a result of increased stress on the brain. Studies show that memory loss and cognitive decline is around 40 percent greater in seniors who suffer from hearing loss. Even more persuasive, people with hearing loss that get treatment like hearings aids have been shown to enhance cognitive ability.
2. Stomach Trouble
That’s not as far-fetched as it seems. Side effects associated with changes you experience due to hearing loss are:
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
The continuous strain can manifest intestinal issues like:
- Abdominal cramps
Irritable bowel syndrome or other more severe conditions will develop as the discomfort increases.
3. Mental Health Concerns
The impact 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 decline in hearing.
The study published in the JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery revealed that people who have untreated hearing loss find it difficult communicating with others and that most likely accounts for the depression. The research shows that for women between the ages of 18 to 69 the depression is more pronounced.
Through the years, the neglected hearing loss has been linked to many mental health conditions like:
- Social withdrawal
- Lack of focus
People who can’t effectively communicate stop trying and that results in depression and psychological strain.
4. Relationship Troubles
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 20,000 dollars per year less is made by individuals with hearing loss in comparison to their hearing colleagues.
Hearing loss brings about 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:
- Thirty-five percent of men Had to be pressured into getting treatment by their partner or spouse before they would agree to it.
- Thirty-seven percent of women questioned reported being 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.
- 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. The good news 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 is best for you.