Hearing loss is typically accepted as simply 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. Perhaps the volume on our TV keeps getting louder. We might even notice that we’re becoming forgetful.
Loss of memory is also often seen as a normal part of aging because the senior population is more prone to Alzheimer’s and dementia than the general population. 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 preserve your memories and mental health?
The connection between mental decline and hearing loss
Most people don’t connect hearing loss with cognitive decline and dementia. However, the link is quite clear if you look in the right places: if you have hearing loss, even at low levels, studies have revealed there’s a substantial risk of developing dementia or cognitive decline.
Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are also fairly prevalent in people who have hearing loss. Your ability to socialize is impacted by cognitive decline, mental health problems, and hearing loss which is the common thread.
Why does hearing loss impact cognitive decline?
There is a link between hearing loss and cognitive decline, and though there’s no concrete proof that there is a direct cause and effect association, experts are exploring some compelling clues. They have pinpointed two main situations that they think lead to issues: your brain working harder to hear and social isolation.
Many studies show that isolation leads to depression and anxiety. And people are not as likely to socialize with others when they have hearing loss. Many people with hearing loss find it’s too hard to carry on conversations or can’t hear well enough to enjoy things like the movie theater. These actions lead down a path of isolation, which can result in mental health issues.
In addition, researchers have discovered that the brain often has to work harder to make up for the fact that the ears don’t hear as well as they should. Eventually, 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. This overworks the brain and causes cognitive decline to set in a lot faster than if the brain could process sounds normally.
How to stop mental decline with hearing aids
The first line of defense against mental health issues and mental decline is hearing aids. Studies show that people improved their cognitive functions and were at a decreased risk of developing dementia when they used hearing aids to deal with their hearing loss.
If more people wore their hearing aids, we may see fewer cases of mental health issues and cognitive decline. Between 15% and 30% of individuals who require 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 cope with 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 begin hearing better – and remembering things without any trouble? Get in touch with us today and make an appointment for a consultation to find out if hearing aids are right for you and to get on the path to better mental health.
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