As we age we start to have difficulty hearing clearly and we usually just accept it as a normal part of aging. Maybe we need to ask people to speak up or repeat themselves when they talk. Perhaps the volume on our TV keeps getting louder. We might even discover that we’re becoming forgetful.
Loss of memory is also frequently regarded as a normal part of aging because the senior population is more susceptible to Alzheimer’s and dementia than the general population. But is it possible that there’s a connection between the two? And, better yet, what if there was a way to treat hearing loss and also preserve your memories and mental health?
The link between cognitive decline and hearing loss
Cognitive decline and dementia are not commonly connected to hearing loss. But if you look in the right places, you will find a clear connection: studies reveal that there is a significant risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-like disorders if you also have hearing loss – even at relatively low levels of hearing impairment.
Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are also fairly prevalent in people who suffer from hearing loss. Your ability to socialize is impacted by cognitive decline, mental health problems, and hearing loss which is the common thread.
Why is cognitive decline impacted by hearing loss?
While there isn’t any solid finding or conclusive proof that hearing loss causes cognitive decline and mental health issues, there is some link and numerous clues that experts are investigating. They think two main situations are responsible: the inability to socialize and your brain working overtime.
Studies have demonstrated that anxiety and depression are often the result of isolation. And people aren’t as likely to socialize with other people when they cope with hearing loss. Many people with hearing loss find it’s too hard to participate in conversations or can’t hear well enough to enjoy things like going to the movies. Mental health issues can be the result of this path of isolation.
Additionally, researchers have discovered that the brain frequently has to work harder to make up for the fact that the ears don’t hear as well as they should. The region of the brain that processes sounds, like voices in a conversation, needs more help from other parts of the brain – specifically, the part of the brain that keeps our memories intact. Cognitive decline will then develop faster than normal as the overtaxed brain strains to keep up.
Using hearing aids to prevent cognitive decline
Hearing aids are our first weapon against mental decline, mental health issues, and dementia. Studies show that patients improved their cognitive functions and were at a reduced risk of developing dementia when they used hearing aids to deal with their hearing loss.
We would see fewer cases of cognitive decline and mental health issues if more people would just use their hearing aids. Between 15% and 30% of individuals who require hearing aids actually use them, which accounts for between 4.5 million and 9 million people. Nearly 50 million people cope with dementia as reported by the World Health Organization estimates. If hearing aids can lower that number by even just a couple of million people, the quality of life for many individuals and families will be exponentially improved.
Are you ready to begin hearing better – and remembering things without any problems? Contact us today and make an appointment for a consultation to learn whether hearing aids are right for you and to get on the path to better mental health.