Hearing Loss Has 4 Unexpected Side Effects
Most people imagine an elderly person saying “what’s that sonny” when they think of hearing loss. Hearing loss affects more than just your ability to hear and has increased dramatically amongst all age groups. There are alarming health repercussions for people who neglect it. It’s worth having your hearing tested based solely on these four.
1. Cognitive Decline
Hearing is a sense that you may not associate with other health issues 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 connect with aging.
When it comes to hearing loss, the brain’s innate ability to adjust to sensory changes backfires. Sound is processed through the inner ear in a way the brain can understand if hearing is normal. This mechanism enables you to tell the difference between the music coming from your car stereo and the music the ice cream truck plays when it heads down your street.
The brain encounters sound each 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. All of a sudden, when there is hearing loss, the brain doesn’t get the same quality or quantity of sound. Believing the missing sound should still be there, it strains to find it. The absence of stimuli causes the brain to stress resulting in cognitive decline and a greater risk of dementia. Seniors have a forty percent higher instance of memory loss and cognitive decline if they suffer from hearing loss, according to studies. People have been shown, even more compellingly, to improve their cognitive functions if they have hearing loss and they get hearing aids.
2. Stomach Problems
That seems like it might seem far-fetched, but it’s not. Side effects associated with changes you experience because of hearing loss are:
- Muscle tension
- Upset stomach
The continuous stress can manifest intestinal problems like:
- Abdominal cramps
Irritable bowel syndrome or other more serious conditions will develop as the discomfort increases.
3. Mental Health Concerns
More than likely, the most obvious side effect is the affect hearing loss has on your mental health. A 2014 study found that an increase in depression correlates to the loss of hearing in adults under the age of 70.
The depression is most likely accounted for by the fact that people with hearing loss have a hard time communicating with others, according to JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery. 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:
- Lack of focus
- Social withdrawal
Psychological anxiety and depression are the outcome when a person can’t communicate successfully and stops trying.
4. Troubled Relationships
Hearing loss impacts more than just 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.
Personal relationships also suffer because of hearing loss. A 2007 survey found 35 percent of the respondents with hearing loss had trouble maintaining relationships. The survey showed:
- 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 that hearing loss was a significant concern when communicating with friends and family members.
- Thirty-seven percent of women interviewed reported getting frustrated when somebody who has hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
- Forty-three percent of men indicated that hearing loss caused relationship problems
Your self-esteem 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. Make an appointment with a hearing care specialist to find out what option works best for you.