These 4 Side Effects of Hearing Loss Will Shock You
Most people think of an elderly person saying “what’s that sonny” when they think of hearing loss. The fact is, hearing loss has increased sharply amongst all age groups and it affects more than just your ability to hear. Startling repercussions result from failing to get it taken care of. Based solely on these four, it’s worth having your hearing tested.
1. Cognitive Decline
Hearing is a sense that you may not link to other health problems but there is a connection. Brain health and cognitive function are the most serious examples. There is evidence that some conditions people connect with aging, such as memory loss, may really be caused by hearing decline.
When it comes to hearing loss, the brain’s inherent ability to adapt to sensory changes backfires. 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 enables you to recognize the difference between the music coming from your car radio and the music the ice cream truck plays as it heads down your street.
The brain experiences sound each microsecond whether you think you are hearing something or not. Air hissing in through a vent and other background sounds are all around you even if you are sitting in a quiet room. Your brain interprets this as a sound you don’t need to know about, so you don’t notice it.
This stimulus is something the brain comes to expect. The brain doesn’t get the same quality or quantity of sound when there is hearing loss. Thinking the missing sound should still be there, it strains to find it. Your chance of dementia is increased as the absence of stimuli results in cognitive decline as a result of increased stress on the brain. 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 functions if they have hearing loss and they invest in hearing aids.
2. Stomach Issues
That seems like a stretch, but it’s not. Hearing loss leads to changes which are associated with:
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
The ongoing 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 Concerns
Probably, the most obvious side effect is the impact hearing loss has on your mental health. A 2014 study found that a decline in hearing correlates to an increase in depression in adults below the age of 70.
The study published in the JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery revealed that people with untreated hearing loss have a hard time communicating with others and that likely is the reason 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 problems 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 results in depression and psychological stress.
4. Troubled Relationships
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 20,000 dollars per year less is made by individuals with hearing loss in comparison to their hearing colleagues.
Hearing loss causes 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:
- Most women indicated that hearing loss was a significant concern when communicating with friends and family members.
- Thirty-seven percent of women questioned reported getting frustrated when someone who has hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
- Forty-three percent of men indicated that hearing loss caused relationship problems
- Thirty-five percent of men reported they agreed to treatment for hearing loss because their spouse or partner pressured them into it
Your self-esteem and the state of your health are affected by hearing loss. It also has an effect on your relationships. When you get hearing aids many of these side effects go away and that’s good news. Schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist to find out what course of action will work best for you.