Hearing loss is usually accepted as simply another part of getting older: as we age, we begin to hear things a little less clearly. Perhaps we need to ask people to speak up or repeat themselves when they talk. Perhaps the volume on our TV keeps getting louder. We may even discover that we’re becoming forgetful.
Memory loss is also typically regarded as a normal part of aging as dementia and Alzheimer’s are much more common in the senior citizen population than in the younger population at large. But what if the two were somehow related? And, better yet, what if there was a way to treat hearing loss and also preserve your memories and mental health?
The connection between mental decline and hearing loss
Cognitive decline and dementia aren’t usually associated with hearing loss. But if you look in the right places, you will see a clear connection: if you’re experiencing hearing loss, even at low levels, studies have revealed there’s a significant risk of developing dementia or cognitive decline.
Mental health problems such as anxiety and depression are also fairly prevalent in individuals who have hearing loss. Your ability to socialize is affected by cognitive decline, mental health problems, and hearing loss which is the common thread.
Why does hearing loss impact cognitive decline?
There is a connection between hearing loss and mental decline, and though there’s no solid proof that there is a direct cause and effect association, experts are investigating some compelling clues. They think two main situations are responsible: your brain working harder to hear and social separation.
Many studies show that solitude brings about anxiety and depression. And when people suffer from hearing loss, they’re not as likely to socialize with others. Many people with hearing loss find it’s too hard to carry on conversations or can’t hear well enough to enjoy things like going to the movies. These actions lead to isolation, which can result in mental health problems.
Additionally, researchers have found that the brain often has to work overtime to make up for the fact that the ears can’t hear clearly. Ultimately, the part of the brain responsible for other tasks, like remembering, has to use some of its resources to help the part of the brain responsible for hearing. Cognitive decline will then progress faster than normal as the overtaxed brain strains to keep up.
How to prevent mental decline with hearing aids
Hearing aids are our first weapon against cognitive decline, mental health issues, and dementia. When people use hearing aids to deal with hearing loss, studies have shown that they were at a decreased risk of dementia and had increased cognitive function.
If more people used their hearing aids, we might see less cases of mental health problems and cognitive decline. Of all the individuals who require hearing aids, only between 15% and 30% actually wear them, that’s between 5 and 9 million people. The World Health Organization estimates that there are nearly 50 million people who cope with some kind of dementia. If hearing aids can reduce 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 issue? Get on the path to better hearing and improved mental health by reaching out to us for a consultation.