As we age we begin to have difficulty hearing clearly and we usually just accept it as a normal part of aging. Maybe 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 start forgetting things?
Loss of memory is also often viewed as a normal part of aging because the senior population is more prone to Alzheimer’s and dementia than the younger population. But is it possible that there’s a link between the two? And, better yet, what if there was a way to manage hearing loss and also maintain your memories and mental health?
The connection between mental decline and hearing loss
Most people don’t connect hearing loss with cognitive decline and dementia. But if you look in the appropriate places, you will find a clear connection: 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.
Individuals who cope with hearing loss also often deal with mental health problems including anxiety and depression. The key point here is that hearing loss, mental health problems, and cognitive decline all impact our ability to socialize.
Why is cognitive decline affected by hearing loss?
While there isn’t any solid finding or definitive proof that hearing loss causes cognitive decline and mental health problems, there is some link and several clues that experts are investigating. They think two main situations are responsible: the inability to interact socially and your brain working overtime.
Countless studies show that isolation brings about anxiety and depression. And when people have hearing loss, they’re not as likely to interact socially with other people. Many individuals who suffered from 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 isolation.
Studies have also shown that when somebody has hearing impairment, the brain has to work extra hard to compensate for the diminished stimulation. Ultimately, the part of the brain in charge of other tasks, like holding memories, 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 was able to process sounds normally.
How to fight mental decline with hearing aids
The weapon against mental health problems and cognitive decline is hearing aids. Research shows that patients improved their cognitive functions and were at a lower risk of developing dementia when they used hearing aids to fight their hearing loss.
We would see fewer instances of cognitive decline and mental health problems if more people would just wear their hearing aids. 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 deal with some kind of dementia. For many individuals and families, the quality of life will be enhanced 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.