These 4 Side Effects of Hearing Loss Will Alarm You
Visualize hearing loss and most people imagine an elderly person with an out-dated hearing aid saying, “What’s that sonny”? Affecting more than just your ability to hear, hearing loss has escalated 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 tested.
1. Mental Decline
There is an association between hearing loss and other health issues, although you might not have previously been aware of them. The most serious is the impact hearing loss has on your cognitive functions and brain health. Hearing decline is actually the cause of certain conditions which some people associate with aging.
The brain’s inherent ability to adjust to sensory changes backfires when it comes to hearing. 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 identify 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 each microsecond whether you think you are hearing something or not. If you are resting in a quiet room, there is still ambient noise around you, like the hiss of air blowing into the AC vent. Your brain filters it out because it decides you don’t need to hear it.
The brain comes to count on this stimulus. The brain doesn’t get the same quality or quantity of sound when there is hearing loss. It struggles to hear the missing sound thinking it should still be there. Your chance of dementia is increased as 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 higher in seniors with hearing loss. People have been shown, even more compellingly, to increase their cognitive ability if they have hearing loss and they invest in hearing aids.
2. Gut Issues
That seems like a stretch, but it’s not. Hearing loss leads to changes which are connected to:
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
The constant stress can manifest intestinal problems like:
- Abdominal cramps
More serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome will happen as your discomfort increases.
3. Mental Health Concerns
The affect hearing loss has on your mental health is more than likely the most obvious side effect. A 2014 study found that a loss in hearing correlates to an increase in depression in adults under the age of 70.
Research published in the JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery found people who have untreated hearing loss find it difficult communicating with others and that probably is the reason 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 untreated hearing loss such as:
- Social withdrawal
- Lack of focus
People who aren’t able to successfully communicate stop trying and that leads to sadness and psychological anxiety.
4. Relationship Troubles
The negative effects of hearing loss invade more than your physical and mental health. Statistically, people make less money if they have hearing loss. 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 creates problems in personal relationships, as well. 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 hearing loss caused relationship problems
- Most women indicated that hearing loss was a significant concern when communicating with friends and family members.
- 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 interviewed reported being irritated when somebody with hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
How you feel about yourself and the world and the state of your health are affected by hearing loss. It also has an effect on your relationships. What’s promising 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 will work best for you.