Picture hearing loss and most people picture an elderly person with an out-dated hearing aid saying, “What’s that sonny”? Impacting more than just your ability to hear, hearing loss has increased dramatically among all age groups. Shocking consequences result from not getting it taken care of. These four alone make it worth having your hearing tested.
1. Cognitive Decline
Hearing is a sense that you may not link to other health issues but there is a connection. Your cognitive function and brain health are the most serious example. Some conditions generally associated with aging are really caused by hearing loss.
When it comes to hearing loss, the brain’s innate ability to adapt to sensory changes backfires. The brain can understand sound that is processed through the inner ear when hearing is normal. It’s that mechanism of hearing that allows you to identify the difference between the music coming from your car radio and the music the ice cream truck plays as it drives down your street.
Every microsecond, the brain experiences sound even if you don’t notice it. 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.
The brain comes to count on this stimulus. The brain doesn’t get the same quality or quantity of sound when there is loss of hearing. It strains to find the missing sound believing it should still be present. The fatigue on the brain and absence of stimuli can result in cognitive decline that increases your chances of dementia later in your life. Memory loss and cognitive decline are forty percent more common in seniors with hearing loss, according to studies. Even more persuasive is the fact that people have been shown to improve their cognitive ability if they have hearing loss and invest in hearing aids.
2. Stomach Problems
That’s not as far-fetched as it seems. The changes you experience because of hearing loss have been connected to side effects like:
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
The constant strain can cause intestinal problems like:
- Abdominal cramps
More severe conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome will occur as your discomfort increases.
3. Mental Health Problems
The impact 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 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 find it difficult communicating with others and that likely accounts for the depression. The research indicates that depression is more prominent in women between the ages of 18 to 69.
Over the years, many mental health conditions have been linked to neglected hearing loss such as:
- Social withdrawal
- Lack of focus
People who can’t effectively communicate stop trying and that results in sadness and psychological anxiety.
4. Relationship Troubles
Your physical and mental health are not the only things that are impacted by hearing loss. 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 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 questioned reported getting annoyed when somebody who has hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
- Thirty-five percent of men reported they agreed to treatment for hearing loss because their spouse or partner pressured them into it
- 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
Hearing loss has an effect on your relationships as well as your health and how you feel about yourself. 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 learn what solution works best for you.