An older person with an out-dated hearing aid saying “what’s that sonny”, is what many people think of when hearing loss is discussed. Affecting more than just your ability to hear, hearing loss has escalated dramatically amongst all age groups. If it is left untreated it can cause startling consequences. It’s worth getting your hearing tested based only on these four.
1. Cognitive Decline
While you may not have previously known it, hearing loss can influence your overall health. The most serious is the impact hearing loss has on your cognitive functions and brain health. Some conditions commonly connected to aging are really caused by hearing loss.
The brain’s natural ability to adapt to sensory changes backfires when it comes to hearing. The brain can understand sound that is processed through the inner ear when hearing is normal. 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.
The brain experiences sound every 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 sitting in a quiet room. Your brain filters it out because it decides you don’t need to hear it.
This stimulus is something the brain comes to expect. Suddenly, when there is loss of hearing, the brain doesn’t get the same quality or quantity of sound. Believing the missing sound should still be there, it struggles to find it. The absence of stimuli causes the brain to stress bringing about cognitive decline and a higher 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 increase their cognitive ability if they suffer from hearing loss and they get hearing aids.
2. Stomach Problems
That’s not as far-fetched as it seems. The changes you experience due to hearing loss have been related to side effects like:
- Muscle tension
- Upset stomach
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
More than likely, the most apparent side effect is the effect hearing loss has on your mental health. A 2014 study found that a decline in hearing correlates to a rise in depression in adults below the age of 70.
The study 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 probably accounts for the depression. The research indicates that for women between the ages of 18 to 69 the depression is more pronounced.
Over the years, many mental health conditions have been linked to neglected hearing loss such as:
- Lack of focus
- Social withdrawal
Psychological strain and sadness are the outcome when someone can’t communicate effectively and stops trying.
4. Relationship Troubles
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 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 had a hard time maintaining relationships if they suffered from hearing loss. The survey showed:
- Forty-three percent of men indicated that they had trouble with relationships due to their hearing loss
- Thirty-seven percent of women interviewed reported getting annoyed 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.
- 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 many of these side effects disappear and that’s good news. Make an appointment with a hearing care specialist to find out what solution works best for you.