Hearing loss is typically accepted as just a normal 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 grandkids to speak up when they’re talking to us, or maybe we start to forget things?
Loss of memory is also often regarded as a standard part of aging because the senior population is more susceptible to Alzheimer’s and dementia than the younger population. But is it possible that there’s a link between the two? And, even better, what if there was a way to manage hearing loss and also safeguard your memories and mental health?
Hearing loss and mental decline
Mental decline and dementia are not usually connected to hearing loss. But if you look in the appropriate places, you will see a clear connection: studies show that there is a significant risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-like disorders if you also have hearing loss – even at relatively low levels of hearing impairment.
People who cope with hearing loss also frequently deal with mental health problems like depression and anxiety. 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 isn’t any concrete finding or conclusive proof that hearing loss causes cognitive decline and mental health problems, there is some connection and numerous clues that experts are looking at. They think two main scenarios are responsible: your brain working extra hard to hear and social separation.
Studies have shown that anxiety and depression are frequently the result of isolation. And people aren’t as likely to socialize with other people when they have hearing loss. Many people find it hard 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.
Studies have also revealed that when somebody has hearing loss, the brain has to work overtime 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 part of the brain responsible for hearing. This overworks the brain and causes mental decline to set in a lot faster than if the brain could process sounds normally.
How to fight mental decline with hearing aids
The weapon against mental health problems and mental decline is hearing aids. When patients use hearing aids to address hearing loss, studies have revealed that they were at a decreased risk of dementia and had increased cognitive function.
We would see fewer instances of cognitive decline and mental health problems if more individuals would just wear their hearing aids. Of all the individuals who require hearing aids, only between 15% and 30% actually use them, that’s between 5 and 9 million people. Almost 50 million individuals cope with dementia as reported by the World Health Organization estimates. If hearing aids can decrease 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 in touch with us today and schedule a consultation to learn whether hearing aids are right for you and start moving toward better mental health.