What researchers have long suspected is true has now been confirmed: a link between hearing loss and brain atrophy, which is basically the brain’s tendency to shrink over time. We now know that the health of your brain is connected to your ability to hear. When you protect your hearing as you get older, you are doing all you can to reverse or stop brain atrophy. Keeping up a healthy level of hearing produces many benefits, but thanks to a recent study, the evidence speaks for itself. Check out the vital information we give you about methods you can take to conserve your hearing and boost your brain’s overall ability.
Rate of Brain Atrophy Linked with Hearing Loss
Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute on Aging both conducted a 20-year study in which 126 people were observed over this entire span. They received MRIs and complete physicals annually, with the results showing a connection between hearing loss and the rate of brain atrophy. Scientists and doctors have known for many years that as people progress into their senior years, their brains shrink and can bring on conditions like dementia. What they learned in this study, however, was that the brains of individuals who had hearing impairments suffered a faster rate of shrinkage than others with no hearing loss symptoms. This places them in a high-risk category for an accelerate rate of brain atrophy, leaving them especially vulnerable to cognitive disorders.
Researchers attempted to explain the reasoning behind this finding so that everyone could understand. Interestingly, when a part of the brain undergoes some kind of damage, such as with hearing loss, it compensates with further damage to the gray matter. Those leading the study found that this can bring about losses throughout the brain, resulting in the largely decreased brain sizes that they noted. Their recommendation, therefore, is that people – especially those with existing hearing loss – be ever more vigilant in caring for their overall hearing health to guard against future occurrences.
Guard Against Any Hearing Loss
As a result of the study, researchers are quick to advise people that the #1 one way they can protect their hearing is through regular doctor appointments. By having their hearting tested regularly, their doctor can measure and track any possible changes that may occur to their hearing. Many times, hearing impairments can be caught immediately and therefore treated with success. Upon noticing a sudden change in hearing capacity, everyone should head to the doctor’s so the hearing loss can be evaluated and reversed if possible – no matter how old you are. This study should prompt those with hearing loss to be even more conscious about maintaining their hearing health. Your mental capacity may diminish over time but you can do something to help it.