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

Hearing loss is usually accepted as just another 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. Maybe the volume on our TV keeps getting louder. We may even notice that we’re becoming forgetful.
Memory loss is also normally considered a natural part of aging as dementia and Alzheimer’s are much more prevalent in the senior citizen population than in the younger 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 connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss

Mental decline and dementia aren’t commonly connected to hearing loss. However, the connection is quite clear if you look in the appropriate places: studies show that there is a significant risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-like disorders if you also have hearing loss – even at fairly low levels of hearing impairment.
Mental health problems such as anxiety and depression are also fairly prevalent in people who suffer from 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 connection between hearing loss and mental 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 identified two main situations that they believe result in problems: the inability to socialize and your brain working overtime.
Studies have demonstrated that anxiety and depression are often the result of loneliness. And when people have hearing loss, they’re less likely to interact socially with others. Many individuals with 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. Mental health issues can be the outcome of this path of solitude.

Additionally, researchers have found that the brain frequently has to work overtime to make up for the fact that the ears don’t hear as well as they should. Ultimately, the part of the brain responsible for other tasks, like holding memories, 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 overtaxed brain struggles to keep up.

How to fight cognitive decline with hearing aids

The weapon against mental health issues and cognitive decline is hearing aids. Research has revealed that people improved their cognitive functions and were at a lower risk of developing dementia when they used hearing aids to deal with their hearing loss.
We would see fewer cases of cognitive decline and mental health issues if more people would just wear their hearing aids. Of all the people who require hearing aids, only between 15% and 30% actually wear them, that’s between 5 and 9 million people. Nearly 50 million individuals cope with dementia according to the World Health Organization estimates. For many people 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? Get on the path to better hearing and improved mental health by calling 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.

Main Line Audiology Consultants, PC