Personalized Hearing Care

These 4 Side Effects of Hearing Loss Will Surprise You

woman holding hand to ear

When talking about hearing loss, many people assume that the only effect of hearing loss is the loss of hearing itself. However, there are some surprising side effects of hearing loss that aren't often discussed, and they have the ability to impact most areas of life. Although you should always be sure to get your hearing tested regularly, these four side effects could be the nudge you need to ensure you book an appointment today.

Stomach Issues

One of the most surprising side effects of hearing loss is that it can impact gut health and trigger several gut issues. People with hearing loss can often have anxiety, muscle tensions and an upset stomach. When these gut issues are combined with the hearing loss itself, it can increase stress. When under stress, the gut can give signals like constipation, diarrhea and abdominal cramping. 

Over time these can lead to a permanent appearance of irritable bowel syndrome. 

Relationship Impact

When undiagnosed or untreated, hearing loss can pose some frustration for the person with hearing loss and those around them. Decreased hearing impacts the ability to communicate effectively, not only within a relationship but also in a work environment. 

Past surveys have shown that some of the issues stem from partners being unable to communicate effectively to those with hearing loss. A large percentage of men required persuasion before getting a hearing test. The longer that a person waits to get tested, the most extensive the hearing loss can be.

Often the ability to listen is called into question and ultimately leads to relationship issues. The problem was due to hearing loss rather than not listening to spouses, children and other family members. One of the most important things is to ensure that steps are taken to get a hearing test if you feel like you have hearing loss or a partner or friends expresses concerns. 

Cognitive Decline

One commonly associated side effect of hearing loss is the decline of cognitive function typically associated with age. 

Our brains spend much of their time processing everything we encounter with our senses and act as a filter. For example, if you are in a room with a noisy vent or a fan, your brain can help you filter it out, so you simply don’t hear it. Dealing with thousands of micro noises and varying volumes and pitches all day isn’t effortless. 

When a person has hearing loss, the brain still expects to hear specific noises and spends the same amount of energy looking for the noises to process them. The brain doesn’t get the quality or the quantity of the sounds expected, which can be a significant stressor for the brain. 

The stress comes from the lack of stimuli, and this is what can bring on cognitive decline and increase the risk of dementia later in life. 

The risk of cognitive decline increases as people age, and that is compounded more when hearing loss is present. Age-related hearing loss is common, but it can be treated with hearing aids and a hearing support team.

Mental Health Problems

Mental health issues can stem from many places, and hearing loss is one of them. A study looked into the connection between mental health problems and hearing loss. The study showed that as hearing loss increased, there was also an increase in the rate of depression in adults under the age of seventy – and more specifically, women. 

Since hearing loss usually declines over a number of years, it can significantly impact how people can communicate with each other. 

Untreated hearing loss has been linked to:

  • Irritability
  • Issues with focusing
  • Negative thinking
  • Social withdrawal
  • Anger 

As the difficulties in communication increase, social withdrawal and communication issues with friends and family become more prevalent. 

Leading to misunderstandings, miscommunications and missed information. As these things happen, it is more likely to lead to depression and cause stress and psychological strain. 

The ability to communicate within a learning or work environment is also impacted. This can lead to a lack of focus and the inability to complete assigned tasks and work. Over time, the performance of the person with hearing loss may begin to decline and that can impact healthy working relationships and confidence. As confidence begins to decrease, anxiety and upset creep in more often – leaving a long-lasting feeling of negativity. 

Hearing loss when left undiagnosed or untreated can lead to several surprising side effects that can have a lasting impact on other areas of life. 

If you suspect you might have noticed some hearing loss, then arrange an appointment for a chat with Lowe Audiology today; call us today at 260-222-7925.