Hearing loss can make it harder to listen to your favorite music or enjoy a conversation with your spouse when you’re out to dinner at Nostrana. However, there are other side effects of hearing loss that may surprise you.
Four Surprising Issues Linked To Hearing Loss
- Anxiety and depression: Untreated hearing loss can have a negative effect on your mental health and emotional well-being. The condition makes communication and socializing more difficult, which can cause feelings of anxiety when you’re interacting with others. Because of this, many people with hearing loss start to isolate themselves from others. This can obviously create feelings of loneliness and depression that can grow worse over time.
- Balance problems: Your inner ear plays a vital role in both maintaining balance and helping you hear. Therefore, there are conditions that can affect both functions. Hearing loss can also increase feelings of disorientation and steadiness, leading to worsening balance and potential injury from falls.
- Cognitive decline: One of the more serious conditions linked to hearing loss is cognitive decline and dementia. Research has shown that hearing loss both increases the risk of cognitive decline and that the risk becomes greater the more severe the hearing loss is. Though the exact reason for the increased risk is unknown, it’s possible that hearing loss can change the structure of your brain over time. Social isolation has also been known to accelerate the rate that cognitive decline and dementia develop.
- Stomach issues. Though hearing loss doesn’t directly affect your gut, having the condition can cause high levels of stress in your daily life. Feeling stressed and anxious can cause stomach issues such as pain, nausea, abdominal cramps and acid reflux. Frequent stomach issues can lead to more serious conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Hearing Aids Can Improve Your Mental and Physical Health
While these side effects are certainly concerning, you can take charge of protecting your mental and physical health by getting a hearing test at the first sign of any problems.
If your test reveals that you have hearing loss, your audiologist will likely recommend treatment with hearing aids. Not only can the right pair of hearing aids help you pick on sounds you may have been missing, but they can also help lower your risk of health complications caused by hearing loss.
For example, one study found that hearing aid use in older individuals with hearing loss was significantly associated with a reduced odds of major depressive disorder and other depression symptoms. Other studies have also shown that using hearing aids can lower anxiety, improve cognition, and lead to better overall health.
If you would like more information or wish to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, call PDX ENT today.