Bright Audiology - Sanford, NC

Man suffering from hearing loss considering the side effects of losing his hearing.

Most people think of an elderly person saying “what’s that sonny” when they picture hearing loss. Hearing loss impacts more than just your ability to hear and has escalated dramatically among all age groups. There are surprising health consequences for people who neglect it. It’s worth getting your hearing examined based only on these four.

1. Mental Decline

There is a connection between hearing loss and other health problems, even though you might not have previously been aware of them. 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 inherent ability to adapt to sensory changes backfires. For somebody with normal hearing, a sound is processed through the inner ear in a way that the brain can understand. This mechanism allows you to tell the difference between the music playing on your car stereo and the music the ice cream truck plays when it goes down your street.

The brain experiences sound every microsecond whether you think you are hearing something or not. There is still background sound around you even if you are sitting in a quiet room, such as air hissing in through a vent. You don’t notice it because your brain filters it out.

This stimulus is something the brain comes to count on. When there is loss of hearing, all of a sudden it doesn’t receive the same quantity or quality of sound. Thinking the missing sound should still be there, it strains to find it. The fatigue on the brain and absence of stimuli can bring about cognitive decline that raises your chances of dementia later in your life. Studies have shown that memory loss and cognitive decline is about 40 percent higher in seniors with hearing loss. People have been shown, even more compellingly, to increase their cognitive functions if they suffer from hearing loss and they invest in hearing aids.

2. Stomach Trouble

That seems like it might seem far-fetched, but it’s not. The changes you experience due to hearing loss have been associated with side effects like:

  • Anxiety
  • Muscle tension
  • Upset stomach

The constant strain can manifest intestinal problems like:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

As the discomfort increases, you might find yourself with a more severe intestinal condition like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

3. Mental Health Problems

Probably, the most apparent side effect is the impact hearing loss has on your mental health. A 2014 study found that a loss in hearing correlates to an increase in depression in adults under the age of 70.

People with hearing loss have a tough time communicating with others, according to JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery, and that likely accounts for the depression. The research suggests that for women between the ages of 18 to 69 the depression is more prominent.

Over the years, many mental health conditions have been connected to untreated hearing loss such as:

  • Negativism
  • Lack of focus
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Social withdrawal

People who can’t successfully communicate stop trying and that results in sadness and psychological strain.

4. Troubled Relationships

Your physical and mental health are not the only things that are impacted by hearing loss. 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.

Personal relationships also suffer because of hearing loss. 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
  • Thirty-seven percent of women interviewed reported being frustrated when someone who has hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
  • Thirty-five percent of men Had to be pressured into getting treatment by their partner or spouse before they would agree to it.
  • Most women indicated relationships with family members and friends were a significant concern with the hearing loss

Hearing loss has an effect on your relationships as well as your health and how you feel about yourself. The good news is many of these side effects disappear or lesson when you get help such as hearing aids. Make an appointment with a hearing care specialist to learn what solution works best for you.

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