When you think of hearing loss, you likely think of turning up the volume too loud on the TV, having difficulty making phone calls and asking “huh?” regularly during conversations. But there are many side effects of hearing loss that may surprise you. Below are some of the lesser-known effects of hearing loss.
Poor Cognitive Function
While sound enters your body through the ears, your brain is responsible for making sense of those sounds. When your brain isn’t receiving the amount of auditory input it should, it affects cognitive function. In other words, just like your muscles, your brain atrophies when it’s not being exercised.
Many studies have established a clear link between hearing loss and cognitive decline. In fact, one study by Johns Hopkins found that people with mild hearing loss are at double the risk of developing dementia later in life compared to those with normal hearing.
Hearing loss doesn’t just affect you; it impacts those you love most, as well. When you have difficulty communicating, your relationships suffer as a consequence. In addition, resentment can form between partners when the normal-hearing person feels they are picking up the slack in social interactions and the hearing-impaired person feels their experience isn’t understood or validated.
Mental Health Problems
Hearing loss can be an incredibly isolating experience. Many people with hearing loss withdraw from social activities they once enjoyed. Anxiety, depression and other mood disorders have been linked to hearing loss in certain individuals due to the stress of straining to hear and the impact of social isolation.
There is a well-known association between anxiety/stress and gastrointestinal issues. This is also true for anxiety and stress caused by hearing loss. Many people with a hearing impairment experience stomach issues such as cramps, pain, diarrhea and constipation.
Importance of Treating Hearing Loss
Fortunately, studies have shown that treating hearing loss with hearing aids or implantable devices like cochlear implants or bone-anchored hearing aids can lessen the symptoms and effects of hearing loss. Preventing cognitive decline, anxiety, depression, strained relationships and even stomach problems can all be possible when you choose to seek treatment for your hearing loss.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Arizona Hearing Specialists today.