As we get older 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. Maybe the volume on our TV keeps getting louder. We might even discover that we’re becoming forgetful.
Loss of memory is also frequently viewed 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 link between the two? And, even better, what if there was a way to address hearing loss and also maintain your memories and mental health?
Hearing loss and cognitive decline
Mental decline and dementia are not usually connected to hearing loss. But if you look in the appropriate places, you will find a clear connection: studies show that there is a considerable risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-like conditions if you also suffer from hearing loss – even at relatively low levels of hearing impairment.
Individuals who cope with hearing loss also often deal with mental health problems including depression and anxiety. The key here is that hearing loss, mental health problems, and cognitive decline all influence our ability to socialize.
Why is cognitive decline affected by hearing loss?
While there isn’t any concrete finding or definitive proof that hearing loss causes cognitive decline and mental health issues, there is some link and numerous clues that experts are investigating. They believe two main situations are responsible: your brain working extra hard to hear and social solitude.
Many studies show that isolation results in anxiety and depression. And people aren’t as likely to socialize with others when they have hearing loss. Many people find it difficult to go out to the movies or dinner because they can’t hear very well. 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 make up for the diminished stimulation. The region of the brain that’s responsible for understanding sounds, like voices in a conversation, needs more help from other parts of the brain – namely, the part of the brain that keeps our memories intact. Cognitive decline will then develop faster than normal as the overtaxed brain struggles to keep up.
How to prevent mental decline with hearing aids
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 decreased risk of developing dementia when they used hearing aids to deal with their hearing loss.
We would see fewer instances of cognitive decline and mental health issues if more people would just use their hearing aids. Of all the people who need hearing aids, only between 15% and 30% actually wear them, that’s between 5 and 9 million people. Almost 50 million individuals cope with dementia according to the World Health Organization estimates. For many individuals and families, the quality of life will be improved if hearing aids can decrease that number by even a couple million people.
Are you ready to improve your hearing and protect your memory at the same time? Contact us today and schedule a consultation to learn whether hearing aids are right for you and to get on the path to better mental health.