Most people think of an elderly person saying “what’s that sonny” when they think of hearing loss. Hearing loss impacts more than just your ability to hear and has increased dramatically among all age groups. There are surprising health repercussions for people who ignore it. Based only on these four, it’s worth having your hearing examined.
1. Cognitive Decline
There is a connection between hearing loss and other health problems, although you might not have previously been aware of them. Brain health and cognitive function are the most serious examples. Hearing decline is the true 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. For a person 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 drives down your street.
Even if you don’t notice it, the brain experiences sound every microsecond. There is still background sound around you even if you are sitting in a quiet room, such as air hissing in through a vent. You don’t even notice it because your brain filters it out.
The brain comes to expect this stimulus. All of a sudden, when there is hearing loss, the brain doesn’t get the same quality or quantity of sound. It struggles to hear the missing sound believing it should still be there. The stress on the brain and absence of stimuli can bring about cognitive decline that raises your risk of dementia later in your life. Seniors have a forty percent higher rate of memory loss and cognitive decline if they suffer from hearing loss, according to studies. Even more persuasive, people who suffer from hearing loss that get treatment like hearings aids have been shown to enhance cognitive function.
2. Stomach Problems
That seems like it might seem far-fetched, but it’s not. The changes you experience due to hearing loss have been associated with side effects like:
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
The ongoing stress can cause intestinal issues like:
- Abdominal cramps
More severe conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome will happen as your discomfort increases.
3. Mental Health Problems
The impact hearing loss has on your mental health is probably the most significant side effect. A 2014 study found that a loss in hearing correlates to a rise in depression in adults below the age of 70.
The depression is likely accounted for by the fact that people who have hearing loss have a difficult time communicating with others, according to JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery. The research shows that for women between the ages of 18 to 69 the depression is more pronounced.
Over the years, many mental health problems have been connected to neglected hearing loss such as:
- Social withdrawal
- Lack of focus
People who aren’t able to effectively communicate stop trying and that leads to 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.
Personal relationships also suffer because of hearing loss. 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 questioned reported getting frustrated when somebody with hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
- Most women indicated relationships with family members and friends were a significant concern with the hearing loss
- 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. When you get hearing aids quite a few of these side effects disappear and that’s good news. Schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist to find out what course of action is best for you.