Hear in Edmonton - Edmonton, Alberta

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

Imagine hearing loss and the majority of people picture an elderly person with an out-dated hearing aid saying, “What’s that sonny”? The fact is, hearing loss has gone up dramatically among all age groups and it has an effect on more than just your ability to hear. There are shocking health effects for people who ignore it. Based solely on these four, it’s worth having your hearing checked.

1. Cognitive 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 serious examples. Some conditions generally connected to aging are really caused by hearing loss.

The brain’s innate ability to adapt to sensory changes backfires when it comes to hearing. For a person with normal hearing, a sound is processed through the inner ear in a way that the brain can understand. 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.

Every microsecond, the brain experiences sound even if you’re not aware of it. There is still background sound around you even if you are relaxing in a quiet room, such as air hissing in through a vent. Your brain filters it out because it decides you don’t need to hear it.

This stimulus is something the brain comes to count on. Suddenly, when there is hearing loss, the brain doesn’t get the same quality or quantity of sound. It still expects it to be there, though and strains to hear it. The fatigue on the brain and lack of stimuli can result in cognitive decline that increases your risk of dementia later in your life. 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 get hearing aids.

2. Stomach Issues

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

  • Upset stomach
  • Muscle tension
  • Anxiety

The constant 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 Problems

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

People with hearing loss have a hard time communicating with others, according to JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery, and that most likely accounts for the depression. 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 connected to neglected hearing loss such as:

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

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

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 causes 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-seven percent of women surveyed reported getting annoyed when someone who has hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
  • Forty-three percent of men indicated that they had trouble with relationships due to their hearing loss
  • 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.

Your self-esteem and the state of your health are impacted by hearing loss. It also has an effect on your relationships. 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 learn what solution works best for you.

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