Woman with long dark hair and black rimmed glasses experiencing cognitive decline.

Hearing loss is usually accepted as just a normal part of getting older: as we age, we begin to hear things a little less clearly. Perhaps we start turning up the volume on the TV or keep asking our grandchildren to speak up when they’re talking to us, or perhaps we start forgetting things?
Memory loss is also normally considered a natural part of aging as dementia and Alzheimer’s are a lot more prevalent in the senior citizen population than in the general population at large. But is it possible that there’s a connection between the two? And, even better, what if there was a way to address hearing loss and also safeguard your memories and mental health?

The link between mental decline and hearing loss

Most people do not associate hearing loss with cognitive decline and dementia. But if you look in the right places, you will find 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.
Individuals who cope with hearing loss also often have mental health problems like anxiety and depression. 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 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 looking at. They have pinpointed two main situations that they believe lead to issues: your brain working harder to hear and social isolation.
Countless studies show that solitude leads to anxiety and depression. And people aren’t as likely to socialize with other people when they have hearing loss. Many individuals find it difficult to go out to the movies or dinner because they can’t hear very well. These actions lead to isolation, which can lead to mental health issues.

Additionally, researchers have discovered that the brain often has to work overtime to make up for the fact that the ears don’t hear as well as they should. Eventually, the part of the brain in charge of other tasks, like holding memories, has to use some of its resources to help the region of the brain responsible for hearing. Cognitive decline will then progress faster than normal as the overworked brain struggles to keep up.

Using hearing aids to stop cognitive decline

The first line of defense against mental health problems and mental decline is hearing aids. When people use hearing aids to deal with hearing loss, studies have revealed 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. Between 15% and 30% of individuals who need hearing aids actually use them, which accounts for between 4.5 million and 9 million people. The World Health Organization estimates that there are nearly 50 million people who deal with some kind 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 improve exponentially.
Are you ready to start hearing better – and remembering things without any problems? Get on the path to better hearing and improved mental health by reaching out to us for an appointment.

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References

https://hearinghealthfoundation.org/blogs/protecting-your-hearing-means-protecting-your-mental-health

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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