Hearing loss is generally accepted as just a normal part of getting older: as we get older, we begin to hear things a little less clearly. Perhaps we need to ask people to speak up or repeat themselves when they talk. Maybe the volume on our TV keeps getting louder. We might even discover that we’re becoming forgetful.
Loss of memory is also commonly seen as a standard part of aging because the senior population is more prone to Alzheimer’s and dementia than the younger population. But is it possible that there’s a connection between the two? And, better yet, what if there was a way to address hearing loss and also preserve your memories and mental health?
The connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss
Most people don’t associate hearing loss with cognitive decline and dementia. Nevertheless, the connection is very clear if you look in the right places: if you have hearing loss, even at low levels, studies have revealed there’s a significant risk of developing dementia or cognitive decline.
Individuals who have hearing loss also frequently deal with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. The key here is that hearing loss, mental health issues, and cognitive decline all influence our ability to socialize.
Why is cognitive decline impacted by hearing loss?
While there is no concrete finding or conclusive proof that hearing loss causes cognitive decline and mental health issues, there is some link and numerous clues that experts are looking at. They think two main situations are responsible: your brain working extra hard to hear and social isolation.
Countless studies show that solitude results in depression and anxiety. And when people suffer from hearing loss, they’re less likely to interact socially with other people. Many people who suffered from hearing loss find it’s too difficult to participate in conversations or can’t hear well enough to enjoy things like going to the movies. Mental health problems can be the outcome of this path of solitude.
Studies have also revealed that when somebody has hearing impairment, the brain has to work extra hard to compensate for the reduced stimulation. Ultimately, the part of the brain responsible for other tasks, like holding memories, has to use some of its resources to help the region of the brain responsible for hearing. Mental decline will then progress faster than normal as the overtaxed brain struggles to keep up.
How to fight mental decline with hearing aids
Hearing aids are our first line of defense against mental decline, mental health issues, and dementia. Research has revealed that people improved their cognitive functions and were at a lower risk of developing dementia when they used hearing aids to fight their hearing loss.
We would see fewer cases of cognitive decline and mental health issues if more people would just wear their hearing aids. Of all the individuals who require hearing aids, only between 15% and 30% actually use them, that’s between 5 and 9 million people. Nearly 50 million individuals cope with dementia as reported by the World Health Organization estimates. If hearing aids can decrease that number by even just a couple of million people, the quality of life for many individuals and families will improve exponentially.
Are you ready to begin hearing better – and remembering things without any trouble? Get on the path to better hearing and improved mental health by calling us for an appointment.