As we age we start to have trouble hearing clearly and we normally just accept it as a normal part of aging. Perhaps we need to ask people to speak up or repeat themselves when they talk. Perhaps the volume on our TV keeps going up. We may even notice 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 younger population. But what if the two were in some way connected? And, even better, what if there was a way to treat hearing loss and also preserve your memories and mental health?
The link between cognitive decline and hearing loss
Most people do not associate hearing loss with mental decline and dementia. Nevertheless, the connection is quite clear if you look in the right places: if you have hearing loss, even at low levels, studies have shown there’s a significant risk of developing dementia or cognitive decline.
Individuals who have hearing loss also frequently deal with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. The key here is that hearing loss, mental health issues, and cognitive decline all impact our ability to socialize.
Why does hearing loss affect cognitive decline?
While there isn’t any solid finding or conclusive proof that hearing loss causes cognitive decline and mental health issues, there is some connection and several clues that experts are investigating. They think two main scenarios are responsible: your brain working harder to hear and social separation.
Countless studies show that solitude results in depression and anxiety. And when people suffer from hearing loss, they’re less likely to interact socially with other people. Many individuals find it difficult 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 bring about mental health issues.
Studies have also shown that when somebody has hearing loss, the brain has to work extra hard to compensate for the reduced stimulation. Eventually, the part of the brain responsible for other tasks, like holding memories, has to use some of its resources to help the region of the brain responsible for hearing. Mental decline will then develop faster than normal as the overtaxed brain struggles to keep up.
How to stop mental decline with hearing aids
The first line of defense against mental health issues and mental decline is hearing aids. When people use hearing aids to manage hearing loss, studies have shown 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 problems if more people would just use their hearing aids. Between 15% and 30% of people who require hearing aids actually use them, which accounts for between 4.5 million and 9 million people. Nearly 50 million people cope with dementia as reported by the World Health Organization estimates. For many individuals and families, the quality of life will be enhanced if hearing aids can decrease that number by even a couple million people.
Are you ready to begin hearing better – and remembering things without any issue? 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.