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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”? Hearing loss impacts more than just your ability to hear and has risen sharply among every age group. Surprising consequences result from not getting it taken care of. It’s worth having your hearing examined based only on these four.

1. Cognitive Decline

Although you might not have previously known it, hearing loss can impact your general health. Brain health and cognitive function are the most serious examples. Hearing decline is the true cause of certain conditions which some people connect with aging.

The brain has an extraordinary ability to adapt to sensory changes, but that backfires when it comes to hearing loss. The brain can understand sound that is processed through the inner ear when hearing is normal. This mechanism allows you to know the difference between the music coming from your car stereo and the music the ice cream truck plays when it drives down your street.

Every microsecond, the brain encounters sound even if you don’t notice it. Air hissing in through a vent and other ambient sounds are all around you even if you are resting in a quiet room. You don’t even notice it because your brain filters it out.

This stimulus is something the brain comes to expect. When there is loss of hearing, 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. The fatigue on the brain and lack of stimuli can bring about cognitive decline that increases your chances of dementia later in your life. Seniors have a forty percent higher instance of memory loss and cognitive decline if they suffer from hearing loss, according to studies. People have been shown, even more compellingly, to increase their cognitive functions if they suffer from hearing loss and they get hearing aids.

2. Gut Issues

That’s not as much of a stretch as it seems. Hearing loss leads to changes which are connected to:

  • Upset stomach
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle tension

The ongoing stress can manifest intestinal problems like:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

Irritable bowel syndrome or other more serious conditions will develop as the discomfort increases.

3. Mental Health Problems

The most noticeable side effect is probably the impact 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 who suffer from hearing loss have a hard time communicating with others, according to JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery, and that likely accounts for the depression. The research suggests that depression is more prominent in women between the ages of 18 to 69.

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

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

People stop trying if they can’t communicate effectively and that causes 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 individuals with untreated hearing loss make on average 20,000 dollars less a year than 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:

  • Forty-three percent of men indicated that they had trouble with relationships due to their hearing loss
  • Most women indicated relationships with family members and friends were a significant concern with the hearing loss
  • Thirty-seven percent of women surveyed reported getting annoyed when somebody 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.

Hearing loss affects your health, your self-esteem, and your relationships. When you get hearing aids many of these side effects go away and that’s good news. Schedule a hearing test to find out what course of action will work best for you.