Hearing loss is typically accepted as simply another part of getting older: as we age, we begin to hear things a little less clearly. Perhaps we begin to turn up the volume on the TV or keep asking our grandchildren to speak up when they’re talking to us, or maybe we begin to forget things?
Memory loss is also typically considered a natural part of aging as dementia and Alzheimer’s are a lot more widespread in the senior citizen population than in the general population at large. But what if the two were in some way connected? And, even better, what if there was a way to address hearing loss and also preserve your memories and mental health?
The link between cognitive decline and hearing loss
Mental decline and dementia are not typically connected to hearing loss. Nevertheless, the link is very clear if you look in the appropriate places: studies show that there is a substantial risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-like conditions if you also have hearing loss – even at relatively low levels of hearing impairment.
Individuals who have hearing loss also often deal with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Your ability to socialize is affected by cognitive decline, mental health problems, and hearing loss which is the common thread.
Why is cognitive decline affected by hearing loss?
There is a link between hearing loss and cognitive decline, and though there’s no solid proof that there’s a direct cause and effect association, experts are exploring some persuasive clues. They have pinpointed two main situations that they believe result in issues: your brain working harder to hear and social separation.
Studies have shown that anxiety and depression are frequently the result of isolation. And when people suffer from hearing loss, they’re not as likely to interact socially with others. Many people 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 result in mental health issues.
Additionally, researchers have discovered that the brain frequently has to work overtime to make up for the fact that the ears don’t hear as well as they should. Ultimately, the part of the brain in charge of other tasks, like remembering, has to use some of its resources to help the part of the brain responsible for hearing. Mental decline will then develop faster than normal as the overtaxed brain struggles to keep up.
Using hearing aids to stop mental decline
The weapon against mental health problems and mental decline is hearing aids. When people use hearing aids to address hearing loss, studies have revealed that they were at a decreased risk of dementia and had improved cognitive function.
We would see fewer cases of cognitive decline and mental health issues if more people would just use their hearing aids. Of all the people who require hearing aids, only between 15% and 30% actually wear them, that’s between 5 and 9 million people. Nearly 50 million individuals cope with dementia according to the World Health Organization estimates. If hearing aids can reduce 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 begin hearing better – and remembering things without any trouble? Get in touch with us today and schedule a consultation to find out if hearing aids are right for you and start moving toward better mental health.