As we get older we begin to have difficulty hearing clearly and we normally just accept it as a normal part of the aging process. Perhaps we need to ask people to speak up or repeat themselves when they talk. Maybe the volume on our TV keeps going up. We might even discover that we’re becoming forgetful.
Loss of memory is also often considered a natural part of aging as dementia and Alzheimer’s are a lot 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, better yet, what if there was a way to address hearing loss and also safeguard your memories and mental health?
Hearing loss and mental decline
Mental decline and dementia aren’t commonly associated with hearing loss. But if you look in the right places, you will discover a clear link: if you’re experiencing hearing loss, even at low levels, studies have shown there’s a substantial risk of developing dementia or cognitive decline.
Mental health problems including anxiety and depression are also fairly prevalent in people who have hearing loss. Your ability to socialize is affected by cognitive decline, mental health problems, and hearing loss which is the common thread.
Why does hearing loss affect cognitive decline?
While there isn’t any concrete 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 scenarios that they think result in issues: your brain working harder to hear and social separation.
Studies have shown that depression and anxiety are often the result of isolation. And when people suffer from hearing loss, they’re less likely to socialize with others. Many individuals who suffered from hearing loss find it’s too difficult to carry on conversations or can’t hear well enough to enjoy things like the movie theater. Mental health problems can be the result of this path of isolation.
Studies have also shown that when somebody has hearing loss, the brain has to work overtime to make up for the diminished stimulation. The part 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. Mental decline will then progress faster than normal as the overworked brain strains to keep up.
How to stop cognitive decline with hearing aids
The first line of defense against mental health problems and cognitive decline is hearing aids. When patients use hearing aids to manage 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 issues if more individuals would just wear their hearing aids. Of all the individuals 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 kind of dementia. If hearing aids can decrease 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? 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.