As we age we begin to have difficulty hearing clearly and we usually just accept it as a normal part of the aging process. Perhaps we need to ask people to speak up or repeat themselves when they talk. Maybe the volume on our TV keeps going up. We might even discover that we’re becoming forgetful.
Loss of memory is also typically considered a normal part of aging as dementia and Alzheimer’s are far more prevalent in the senior citizen population than in the general population at large. But is it possible that there’s a connection between the two? And, even better, what if there was a way to address hearing loss and also preserve your memories and mental health?
The link between mental decline and hearing loss
Most people do not connect hearing loss with mental decline and dementia. However, the connection is very clear if you look in the right places: if you’re experiencing hearing loss, even at low levels, studies have revealed there’s a considerable risk of developing dementia or cognitive decline.
Mental health problems such as anxiety and depression are also fairly prevalent in individuals who suffer from hearing loss. The key point here is that hearing loss, mental health issues, and cognitive decline all influence our ability to socialize.
Why is cognitive decline affected by hearing loss?
There is a link between hearing loss and mental decline, and though there’s no solid proof that there’s a direct cause and effect association, experts are exploring some persuasive clues. They think two main situations are responsible: your brain working harder to hear and social isolation.
Many studies show that loneliness results in anxiety and depression. And when people suffer from hearing loss, they’re less likely to socialize with other people. Many individuals who suffered from hearing loss find it’s too difficult to carry on conversations or can’t hear well enough to enjoy things like going to the movies. These actions lead down a path of isolation, which can lead to mental health problems.
Studies have also revealed that when somebody has hearing impairment, the brain has to work extra hard to make up for the reduced stimulation. Eventually, 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. Mental decline will then develop faster than normal as the overworked brain struggles to keep up.
Using hearing aids to prevent cognitive decline
The weapon against mental health problems and cognitive decline is hearing aids. When people use hearing aids to manage hearing loss, studies have shown that they were at a lower risk of dementia and had increased cognitive function.
We would see fewer cases of cognitive decline and mental health issues if more individuals would just use 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. Almost 50 million people 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 improve exponentially.
Are you ready to start hearing better – and remembering things without any trouble? 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.