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

An elderly person with an old-fashioned hearing aid saying “what’s that sonny”, is what many people think about when hearing loss is mentioned. Hearing loss affects more than just your ability to hear and has risen sharply among all age groups. If it is left untreated it can cause alarming repercussions. These four by themselves make it worth having your hearing tested.

1. Cognitive Decline

There is a connection between hearing loss and other health problems, though you might not have previously been aware of them. Your cognitive function and brain health are the most serious example. Some conditions commonly associated with aging are actually caused by hearing loss.

The brain has an extraordinary ability to adapt to sensory changes, but that backfires when it comes to hearing loss. For someone with regular 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 sorted out by this mechanism.

Every microsecond, the brain experiences sound even if you don’t notice 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.

The brain comes to count on this stimulus. All of a sudden, when there is loss of hearing, the brain doesn’t get the same quality or quantity of sound. Believing the missing sound should still be there, it strains to find it. Your chance 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 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 invest in hearing aids.

2. Stomach Trouble

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

  • Anxiety
  • Upset stomach
  • Muscle tension

The ongoing stress can manifest intestinal problems like:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

As the discomfort increases, you may find yourself with a more serious intestinal condition like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

3. Mental Health Problems

Probably, the most obvious side effect is the impact hearing loss has on your mental health. A 2014 study found that a loss in hearing correlates to an increase in depression in adults below the age of 70.

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

Over the years, the neglected hearing loss has been linked to many mental health problems including:

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

Psychological stress and sadness are the outcome when a person can’t communicate successfully and stops trying.

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 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:

  • Thirty-seven percent of women interviewed reported being frustrated when someone with hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
  • Most women indicated that hearing loss was a significant concern when communicating with friends and family members.
  • Forty-three percent of men indicated that hearing loss caused relationship problems
  • 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 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 go away and that’s good news. Schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist to find out what course of action is best for you.