An older person with an out-dated hearing aid saying “what’s that sonny”, is what most people think about when hearing loss is discussed. Having an effect on more than just your ability to hear, hearing loss has risen sharply among all age groups. Alarming repercussions result from failing to get it treated. It’s worth having your hearing tested based only on these four.
1. Cognitive Decline
Hearing is a sense that you may not associate with other health troubles but there is a connection. Brain health and cognitive function are the most significant examples. Hearing decline is the true 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 someone with normal 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 heads down your street.
Even if you’re not aware of it, the brain experiences sound every microsecond. Air hissing in through a vent and other background 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 hearing loss, all of a sudden it doesn’t get the same quantity or quality of sound. It strains to hear the missing sound thinking it should still be present. Your chance of dementia is increased as the absence of stimuli causes cognitive decline due to increased stress on the brain. Seniors have a forty percent higher instance 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 ability.
2. Gut Trouble
That’s not as much of a stretch as it seems. Hearing loss leads to changes which are associated with:
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
The continuous strain can cause intestinal issues like:
- Abdominal cramps
Irritable bowel syndrome or other more serious conditions will develop as the discomfort increases.
3. Mental Health Problems
The affect hearing loss has on your mental health is probably the most obvious side effect. A 2014 study found that an increase in depression correlates to a decline of hearing in adults under the age of 70.
Research published in the JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery found people who suffer from untreated hearing loss have a hard time communicating with others and that probably accounts for the depression. The research suggests that for women between the ages of 18 to 69 the depression is more pronounced.
Over the years, many mental health problems have been linked to untreated hearing loss such as:
- Social withdrawal
- Lack of focus
People who can’t successfully communicate stop trying and that results in sadness and psychological anxiety.
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 with hearing loss had trouble maintaining relationships. The survey showed:
- Thirty-seven percent of women surveyed reported getting annoyed when somebody with hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
- Forty-three percent of men indicated that they had trouble with relationships due to their hearing loss
- Most women indicated that hearing loss was a significant concern when communicating with friends and family members.
- 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. What’s promising is many of these side effects disappear 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.