Woman with long dark hair and black rimmed glasses experiencing cognitive decline.

Hearing loss is commonly accepted as just a normal part of getting older: as we age, we start to hear things a little less clearly. 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 might even notice that we’re becoming forgetful.
Loss of memory is also often 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 somehow connected? And could it be possible to maintain your mental health and manage hearing loss at the same time?

The link between cognitive decline and hearing loss

Cognitive decline and dementia aren’t commonly connected to hearing loss. But if you look in the appropriate places, you will see a clear link: studies reveal that there is a substantial risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-like conditions if you also have hearing loss – even at fairly low levels of hearing impairment.
Mental health problems including anxiety and depression are also fairly prevalent in individuals who have hearing loss. The key point here is that hearing loss, mental health problems, and cognitive decline all impact our ability to socialize.

Why does hearing loss impact cognitive decline?

While there isn’t any solid finding or conclusive proof that hearing loss causes cognitive decline and mental health problems, there is some link and numerous clues that experts are looking at. They have identified two main scenarios that they think result in problems: the inability to socialize and your brain working overtime.
Studies have demonstrated that depression and anxiety are frequently the result of loneliness. And people aren’t as likely to socialize with other people when they have hearing loss. Many individuals with hearing loss find it’s too hard to carry on conversations or can’t hear well enough to enjoy things like the movie theater. These actions lead down a path of isolation, which can lead to mental health issues.

Studies have also shown that when someone has hearing impairment, the brain has to work extra hard to compensate for the diminished stimulation. Ultimately, the part of the brain responsible for other tasks, like remembering, has to use some of its resources to help the region of the brain responsible for hearing. Cognitive decline will then develop faster than normal as the overtaxed brain strains to keep up.

How to stop cognitive decline with hearing aids

The weapon against mental health issues and mental decline is hearing aids. Research shows that people improved their cognitive functions and were at a decreased risk of developing dementia when they used hearing aids to combat their hearing loss.
If more people wore their hearing aids, we may see fewer instances of mental health problems and cognitive decline. Between 15% and 30% of people 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 suffer from some form of dementia. For many people 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 start hearing better – and remembering things without any problems? Get in touch with 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.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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