As we get older we start to have difficulty hearing clearly and we typically just accept it as a normal part of aging. Maybe 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 frequently seen as a normal part of aging because the senior population is more prone to Alzheimer’s and dementia than the general population. But what if the two were in some way related? And, even better, what if there was a way to treat hearing loss and also preserve your memories and mental health?
Hearing loss and cognitive decline
Cognitive decline and dementia are not commonly associated with hearing loss. But if you look in the right places, you will discover a clear link: if you have hearing loss, even at low levels, studies have revealed there’s a substantial risk of developing dementia or cognitive decline.
Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are also fairly prevalent in people who suffer from 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 affected by hearing loss?
While there is no solid finding or conclusive proof that hearing loss causes cognitive decline and mental health issues, there is some link and several clues that experts are looking at. They believe two main scenarios are responsible: the inability to socialize and your brain working overtime.
Countless studies show that loneliness leads to depression and anxiety. And people aren’t as likely to socialize with other people when they cope with hearing loss. 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 the movie theater. Mental health issues can be the result of this path of isolation.
Additionally, researchers have discovered 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. Ultimately, 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 mental decline to set in much faster than if the brain could process sounds normally.
How to stop mental decline with hearing aids
The weapon against mental health issues and mental decline is hearing aids. When patients use hearing aids to manage hearing loss, studies have shown that they were at a reduced risk of dementia and had improved cognitive function.
If more people used their hearing aids, we may see less cases of mental health issues and cognitive decline. Between 15% and 30% of individuals who need hearing aids actually use them, which accounts for between 4.5 million and 9 million people. Nearly 50 million individuals cope with dementia according to the World Health Organization estimates. For many individuals 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 improve your hearing and safeguard your memory at the same time? Contact 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.