As we get older we begin to have trouble hearing clearly and we typically just accept it as a normal part of growing older. Perhaps we start turning the volume up on the TV or keep asking our grandkids to speak up when they’re talking to us, or perhaps we start to forget things?
Loss of memory is also commonly viewed as a standard part of aging because the senior population is more susceptible to Alzheimer’s and dementia than the younger population. But what if the two were somehow related? And, better yet, what if there was a way to treat hearing loss and also preserve your memories and mental health?
Hearing loss and cognitive decline
Most people do not associate hearing loss with cognitive decline and dementia. But if you look in the appropriate places, you will discover a clear connection: studies reveal that there is a substantial risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-like disorders if you also have hearing loss – even at relatively low levels of hearing impairment.
Mental health issues like anxiety and depression are also fairly prevalent in individuals 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 is cognitive decline impacted by hearing loss?
While there is no solid finding or definitive proof that hearing loss causes cognitive decline and mental health problems, there is some link and numerous clues that experts are investigating. They think two main scenarios are responsible: the inability to interact socially and your brain working overtime.
Studies have shown that anxiety and depression are often the result of isolation. And people are not as likely to socialize with others when they have hearing loss. Many people find it hard to go out to the movies or dinner because they can’t hear very well. These actions lead down a path of isolation, which can lead to mental health issues.
Additionally, researchers have found that the brain frequently has to work overtime to make up for the fact that the ears can’t hear clearly. Eventually, 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. Cognitive decline will then progress faster than normal as the overworked brain strains to keep up.
How to prevent cognitive decline with hearing aids
Hearing aids are our first weapon against cognitive decline, mental health issues, and dementia. When people use hearing aids to deal with hearing loss, studies have revealed that they were at a reduced risk of dementia and had increased cognitive function.
If more people used their hearing aids, we might see fewer cases of mental health problems 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. Almost 50 million people cope with dementia as reported by the World Health Organization estimates. 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 improve your hearing and protect your memory at the same time? Get in touch with us today and schedule a consultation to find out if hearing aids are right for you and to get on the path to better mental health.