Hearing Loss Has 4 Surprising Side Effects

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

Picture hearing loss and many people picture 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 increased sharply amongst all age groups. Shocking repercussions result from failing to get it treated. Based only on these four, it’s worth having your hearing examined.

1. Cognitive Decline

There is an association between hearing loss and other health problems, although you may not have previously been aware of them. Your cognitive function and brain health are the most serious example. Hearing decline is the true cause of certain conditions which some people associate 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. This mechanism permits you to tell the difference between the music coming from your car stereo and the music the ice cream truck plays as it goes down your street.

Even if you don’t notice it, the brain experiences sound every microsecond. There is still ambient sound around you even if you are sitting in a quiet room, such as air hissing in through a vent. You don’t even notice it because your brain filters it out.

The brain comes to count on this stimulus. When there is loss of hearing, suddenly it doesn’t get the same quantity or quality of sound. Believing the missing sound should still be there, it strains to find it. Your risk of dementia is increased as the absence of stimuli leads to cognitive decline as a result of increased stress on the brain. Seniors have a forty percent higher rate of memory loss and cognitive decline if they suffer from hearing loss, according to studies. Even more persuasive, people with hearing loss that get treatment such as hearings aids have been shown to improve cognitive ability.

2. Gut Problems

That’s not as far-fetched as it seems. Side effects related to changes you experience due to hearing loss are:

  • Upset stomach
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle tension

The ongoing strain can cause intestinal issues like:

  • Constipation
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea

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

3. Mental Health Concerns

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

The depression is likely accounted for by the fact that people with hearing loss have a hard time communicating with others, according to JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery. The research shows that depression is more prominent in women between the ages of 18 to 69.

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

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

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

4. Relationship Troubles

Hearing loss impacts more than just your physical and mental health. Statistically, if a person has hearing loss, they will probably make less money. 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, too. 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 questioned reported getting irritated 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 relationships with family members and friends were a significant concern with the hearing loss

Hearing loss impacts your health, your self-esteem, and your relationships. The good news is many of these side effects disappear or lesson when you get help like hearing aids. Schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist to find out what course of action is 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.