An older person with an old-fashioned hearing aid saying “what’s that sonny”, is what the majority of people think of when hearing loss is discussed. Hearing loss impacts more than just your ability to hear and has risen sharply among every age group. If it is left untreated it can cause shocking consequences. It’s worth having your hearing examined based solely on these four.
1. Cognitive Decline
Though you may not have previously known it, hearing loss can influence your overall health. Your cognitive function and brain health are the most significant example. There is evidence that some conditions people connect with aging, such as memory loss, might really be caused by hearing decline.
When it comes to hearing loss, the brain’s natural ability to adjust to sensory changes backfires. Sound is processed through the inner ear in a way the brain can understand if hearing is normal. This mechanism allows you to know 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’re not aware of it, the brain experiences sound every microsecond. If you are resting in a quiet room, there is still ambient noise around you, like the hiss of air coming into the AC vent. You don’t notice it because your brain filters it out.
This stimulus is something the brain comes to expect. When there is loss of hearing, all of a sudden it doesn’t receive the same quantity or quality of sound. It strains to hear the missing sound thinking it should still be present. Your risk of dementia is increased as the absence of stimuli results in cognitive decline as a result of increased stress on the brain. 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 increase their cognitive functions if they suffer from hearing loss and they invest in hearing aids.
2. Gut Problems
That seems like it might seem far-fetched, but it’s not. The changes you experience due to hearing loss have been related to side effects like:
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
The ongoing stress can cause intestinal problems like:
- Abdominal cramps
More serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome will occur as your discomfort increases.
3. Mental Health Concerns
Probably, the most apparent 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.
Research published in the JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery revealed that people who suffer from untreated hearing loss have a hard time communicating with others and that most likely is the reason for the depression. The research indicates that depression is more prominent in women between the ages of 18 to 69.
Over the years, the neglected hearing loss has been connected to many mental health conditions such as:
- Social withdrawal
- Lack of focus
Psychological strain and sadness are the outcome when a person can’t communicate successfully and stops trying.
4. Relationship Troubles
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.
Hearing loss causes problems in personal relationships, too. 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 surveyed reported being annoyed when someone 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
- Thirty-five percent of men reported they agreed to treatment for hearing loss because their spouse or partner pressured them into it
Hearing loss has an effect on your relationships as well as your health and your self-esteem. 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 find out what solution works best for you.