As we get older we begin to have trouble hearing clearly and we typically just accept it as a normal part of growing older. Maybe we need to ask people to speak up or repeat themselves when they talk. Maybe the volume on our TV keeps getting louder. We might even discover that we’re becoming forgetful.
Loss of memory is also often seen as a normal part of aging because the senior population is more susceptible to Alzheimer’s and dementia than the general population. But is it possible that there’s a link between the two? And, better yet, what if there was a way to address hearing loss and also safeguard your memories and mental health?
The link between mental decline and hearing loss
Most people do not connect hearing loss with mental decline and dementia. Nevertheless, the link is quite clear if you look in the right places: studies reveal that there is a substantial risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-like disorders if you also suffer from hearing loss – even at fairly low levels of hearing impairment.
Mental health issues such as 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?
There is a connection between hearing loss and mental decline, and though there’s no solid proof that there is a direct cause and effect relationship, experts are looking at some compelling clues. They have identified two main scenarios that they believe lead to issues: the inability to socialize and your brain working overtime.
Countless studies show that loneliness brings about anxiety and depression. And when people suffer from hearing loss, they’re less likely to interact socially with other people. Many individuals with hearing loss find it’s too difficult to participate in conversations or can’t hear well enough to enjoy things like going to the movies. Mental health problems can be the outcome of this path of solitude.
Additionally, researchers have found that the brain frequently has to work harder to make up for the fact that the ears don’t hear as well as they should. The region of the brain that processes sounds, like voices in a conversation, requires more help from other parts of the brain – specifically, the part of the brain that keeps our memories intact. Mental decline will then progress faster than normal as the overworked brain struggles to keep up.
How to stop mental decline with hearing aids
Hearing aids are our first line of defense against mental decline, mental health issues, and dementia. Research shows 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.
If more people wore their hearing aids, we might see fewer cases of mental health issues 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. The World Health Organization estimates that there are almost 50 million people who cope with some form of dementia. 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 improve exponentially.
Are you ready to improve your hearing and safeguard your memory at the same time? Get on the path to better hearing and improved mental health by calling us for an appointment.