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

Imagine hearing loss and many people picture an older person with an old-fashioned hearing aid saying, “What’s that sonny”? The fact is, hearing loss has risen sharply among all age groups and it has an effect on more than just your ability to hear. There are surprising health repercussions for people who neglect it. These four alone make it worth having your hearing checked.

1. Mental Decline

Hearing is a sense that you may not associate with other health troubles but there is an association. Brain health and cognitive function are the most significant examples. Some conditions frequently connected to aging are really caused by hearing loss.

The brain’s natural 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. The difference between the music playing on your car radio and the music the ice cream truck plays as it heads down the street is processed by this mechanism.

The brain experiences sound every 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 resting in a quiet room. Your brain interprets this as a sound you don’t need to hear, so you don’t notice it.

This stimulus is something the brain comes to count on. The brain doesn’t get the same quality or quantity of sound when there is hearing loss. It struggles to find the missing sound believing it should still be there. The stress on the brain and lack of stimuli can cause cognitive decline that raises your risk of dementia later on in your life. Seniors have a forty percent higher rate of memory loss and cognitive decline if they have hearing loss, according to studies. People have been shown, even more compellingly, to increase their cognitive ability if they have hearing loss and they get hearing aids.

2. Stomach Problems

That seems like a stretch, but it’s not. Hearing loss leads to changes which are connected to:

  • Anxiety
  • Upset stomach
  • Muscle tension

The ongoing strain can cause intestinal problems like:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

More severe conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome will occur as your discomfort increases.

3. Mental Health Concerns

The most noticeable side effect is probably the affect hearing loss has on your mental health. A 2014 study found that an increase in depression correlates to a decline of hearing in adults below the age of 70.

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

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

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

People stop trying if they can’t communicate effectively and that leads to 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.

Hearing loss creates problems in personal relationships, as well. 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.
  • Thirty-seven percent of women interviewed reported being irritated when someone who has hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
  • Most women indicated relationships with family members and friends were a significant concern with the hearing loss
  • Forty-three percent of men indicated that they had trouble with relationships due to their hearing loss

How you feel about yourself and the world 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 disappear or lesson when you get help such as hearing aids. Make an appointment with a hearing care specialist to learn what option 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.
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