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

Visualize hearing loss and most people picture an older person with an out-dated hearing aid saying, “What’s that sonny”? The fact is, hearing loss has gone up sharply among all age groups and it impacts more than just your ability to hear. If it is not treated it can cause startling consequences. It’s worth getting your hearing examined based solely on these four.

1. Cognitive Decline

Hearing is a sense that you might not associate with other health troubles 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.

The brain’s innate ability to adjust to sensory changes backfires when it comes to hearing. The brain can understand sound that is processed through the inner ear when hearing is normal. It’s that mechanism of hearing that permits you to recognize the difference between the music coming from your car radio and the music the ice cream truck plays as it goes down your street.

Every microsecond, the brain experiences sound even if you’re not aware of it. If you are relaxing in a quiet room, there is still background noise around you, like the hiss of air coming through the AC vent. You don’t notice it because your brain filters it out.

This stimulus is something the brain comes to expect. When there is hearing loss, all of a sudden it doesn’t receive the same quantity or quality of sound. It still thinks it’s there, though and strains to find it. Your risk of dementia is increased because the absence of stimuli leads to 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. Even more compelling is the fact that people have been shown to improve their cognitive ability if they suffer from hearing loss and invest in hearing aids.

2. Stomach Issues

That’s not as far-fetched as it seems. Hearing loss leads to changes which are related to:

  • Upset stomach
  • Muscle tension
  • Anxiety

The constant strain can cause intestinal problems like:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal cramps

More serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome will happen as your discomfort increases.

3. Mental Health Concerns

The affect hearing loss has on your mental health is more than likely the most significant side effect. A 2014 study found that a loss in hearing correlates to an increase in depression in adults under the age of 70.

The depression is most likely accounted for by the fact that people who suffer from hearing loss have a difficult 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 problems have been linked to neglected hearing loss such as:

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

People stop trying if they can’t communicate successfully and that leads to sadness and psychological strain.

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 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 with hearing loss had trouble maintaining relationships. The survey showed:

  • 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 that hearing loss was a significant concern when communicating with friends and family members.
  • Forty-three percent of men indicated that they had trouble with relationships due to their hearing loss
  • Thirty-seven percent of women questioned reported getting frustrated when somebody who has hearing loss wasn’t listening to them

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 like hearing aids. Make an appointment with a hearing care specialist to find out what option works best for you.

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