As we age we begin to have difficulty hearing clearly and we usually just accept it as a normal part of growing older. 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 might even discover that we’re becoming forgetful.
Loss of memory is also commonly seen 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 safeguard your memories and mental health?
The link between mental decline and hearing loss
Most individuals do not associate hearing loss with cognitive decline and dementia. However, the link is very clear if you look in the right places: if you’re experiencing hearing loss, even at low levels, studies have revealed there’s a considerable risk of developing dementia or cognitive decline.
Individuals who have hearing loss also frequently deal with mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Your ability to socialize is impacted by cognitive decline, mental health problems, and hearing loss which is the common thread.
Why is cognitive decline affected by hearing loss?
There is a connection between hearing loss and mental decline, and though there’s no concrete proof that there’s a direct cause and effect relationship, experts are looking at some compelling clues. They have identified two main scenarios that they think result in issues: your brain working harder to hear and social solitude.
Countless studies show that isolation results in anxiety and depression. And when people have hearing loss, they’re less likely to interact socially with others. Many individuals who suffered from 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. These actions lead to isolation, which can bring about mental health issues.
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. Ultimately, the part of the brain in charge of other tasks, like remembering, has to use some of its resources to help the part of the brain responsible for hearing. Mental decline will then progress faster than normal as the overworked brain strains to keep up.
Using hearing aids to prevent mental decline
The weapon against mental health problems and cognitive decline is hearing aids. When patients use hearing aids to deal with hearing loss, studies have shown that they were at a lower risk of dementia and had increased cognitive function.
We would see fewer cases of cognitive decline and mental health problems if more individuals would just wear their hearing aids. Of all the people who require hearing aids, only between 15% and 30% actually use them, that’s between 5 and 9 million people. The World Health Organization estimates that there are almost 50 million people who suffer from some form of dementia. 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 improve your hearing and protect your memory at the same time? Get on the path to better hearing and improved mental health by calling us for an appointment.