Hearing loss is commonly accepted as just another part of getting older: as we age, we begin to hear things a little less clearly. Maybe we need to ask people to speak up or repeat themselves when they talk. Maybe the volume on our TV keeps going up. We may even discover that we’re becoming forgetful.
Loss of memory is also often considered a normal part of aging as dementia and Alzheimer’s are a lot more common in the senior citizen population than in the younger population at large. But what if the two were somehow related? And, better yet, what if there was a way to address hearing loss and also safeguard your memories and mental health?
Hearing loss and cognitive decline
Mental decline and dementia are not usually connected to hearing loss. But if you look in the appropriate places, you will discover a clear connection: if you’re experiencing hearing loss, even at low levels, studies have revealed there’s a considerable risk of developing dementia or cognitive decline.
People who cope with hearing loss also often deal with mental health problems like depression and anxiety. 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 persuasive clues. They have pinpointed two main scenarios that they think result in problems: your brain working extra hard to hear and social solitude.
Many studies show that solitude brings about depression and anxiety. And when people suffer from hearing loss, they’re not as likely to socialize with other people. Many people find it difficult to go out to the movies or dinner because they can’t hear very well. These actions lead to isolation, which can bring about mental health problems.
In addition, researchers have found that the brain often 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 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 much faster than if the brain could process sounds normally.
How to prevent mental decline with hearing aids
Hearing aids are our first weapon against mental decline, mental health problems, and dementia. Studies show that patients improved their cognitive functions and were at a lower risk of developing dementia when they used hearing aids to combat their hearing loss.
We would see fewer cases of cognitive decline and mental health problems if more people would just use 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. Almost 50 million individuals cope with dementia as reported by the World Health Organization estimates. For many people and families, the quality of life will be improved if hearing aids can reduce that number by even a couple million people.
Are you ready to start 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.