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

Visualize hearing loss and the majority of people imagine an older person with an out-dated hearing aid saying, “What’s that sonny”? Hearing loss affects more than just your ability to hear and has escalated sharply amongst all age groups. Alarming consequences result from not having it taken care of. It’s worth having your hearing examined based solely on these four.

1. Mental Decline

There is an association between hearing loss and other health issues, though you might not have previously been aware of them. Brain health and cognitive function are the most serious examples. There is evidence that some conditions people connect with aging, like memory loss, might actually be caused by hearing decline.

The brain’s inherent 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. This mechanism enables 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 each 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.

The brain comes to count on this stimulus. When there is loss of hearing, all of a sudden it doesn’t receive the same quantity or quality of sound. It still expects it to be there, though and strains to find it. The fatigue on the brain and absence of stimuli can result in cognitive decline that raises your chances of dementia later in life. Studies show that memory loss and cognitive decline is around 40 percent greater in seniors who suffer from hearing loss. Even more compelling, people with hearing loss that get treatment such as hearings aids have been shown to enhance cognitive ability.

2. Gut Issues

That seems like it might seem far-fetched, but it’s not. Hearing loss leads to changes which are related to:

  • Upset stomach
  • Muscle tension
  • Anxiety

The ongoing stress can manifest intestinal problems like:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Constipation

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

3. Mental Health Concerns

More than likely, the most apparent side effect is the affect 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 depression is likely accounted for by the fact that people who suffer from hearing loss have a tough 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 untreated hearing loss such as:

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

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

4. Relationship Troubles

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 had a hard time maintaining relationships if they suffered from hearing loss. The survey showed:

  • Thirty-seven percent of women questioned reported being frustrated when somebody who has hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
  • Forty-three percent of men indicated that hearing loss caused relationship problems
  • Most women indicated that hearing loss was a significant concern when communicating with friends and family members.
  • Thirty-five percent of men reported they agreed to treatment for hearing loss because their spouse or partner pressured them into it

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 find out what solution works best for you.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.