Enhanced Hearing Center - Springfield, MO

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

Most people picture an older person saying “what’s that sonny” when they picture hearing loss. The fact is, hearing loss has gone up sharply amongst all age groups and it impacts more than just your ability to hear. If it is left untreated it can cause alarming consequences. It’s worth having your hearing examined based solely on these four.

1. Cognitive Decline

There is an association between hearing loss and other health problems, although you may not have previously known about them. Brain health and cognitive function are the most significant examples. Hearing decline is actually the cause of certain conditions which some people connect with aging.

The brain has an impressive 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. It’s that mechanism of hearing that enables you to identify the difference between the music coming from your car radio and the music the ice cream truck plays as it goes down your street.

Each microsecond, the brain encounters sound even if you don’t notice it. 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.

The brain comes to expect this stimulus. The brain doesn’t get the same quality or quantity of sound when there is hearing loss. It still expects it to be there, though and strains to find it. The lack of stimuli causes stress to the brain leading to cognitive decline and a higher risk of dementia. Memory loss and cognitive decline are forty percent more common in seniors with hearing loss, according to studies. Even more persuasive, people with hearing loss that get treatment like hearings aids have been shown to enhance cognitive ability.

2. Gut Trouble

That seems like it might seem far-fetched, but it’s not. Side effects associated with changes you experience due to hearing loss are:

  • Upset stomach
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle tension

The ongoing strain can manifest intestinal problems like:

  • Constipation
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea

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

3. Mental Health Concerns

The most obvious 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.

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 pronounced 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:

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

Psychological strain and depression are the result when someone can’t communicate successfully and stops trying.

4. Relationship Troubles

Hearing loss impacts more than just your physical and mental health. People with poor hearing statistically make less money. 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.

Hearing loss creates problems in personal relationships, too. 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 hearing loss caused relationship problems
  • Thirty-five percent of men reported they agreed to treatment for hearing loss because their spouse or partner pressured them into it
  • Thirty-seven percent of women interviewed reported being annoyed when someone who has hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
  • Most women indicated that hearing loss was a significant concern when communicating with friends and family members.

Hearing loss has an effect on your relationships as well as your health and how you feel about yourself. When you get hearing aids many of these side effects disappear and that’s good news. Schedule a hearing test to find out what course of action will work best for you.

Why wait? You don't have to live with hearing loss. Call Us Today