As we get older we begin to have difficulty hearing clearly and we usually just accept it as a normal part of the aging process. Maybe we need to ask people to speak up or repeat themselves when they talk. Maybe the volume on our TV keeps getting louder. We might even notice that we’re becoming forgetful.
Loss of memory is also frequently seen as a standard 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 connection between the two? And, even better, what if there was a way to manage hearing loss and also maintain your memories and mental health?
The link between mental decline and hearing loss
Most individuals do not connect hearing loss with mental decline and dementia. However, the connection is quite clear if you look in the right places: if you’re experiencing hearing loss, even at low levels, studies have shown there’s a significant 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 does hearing loss impact cognitive decline?
There is a link between hearing loss and mental decline, and though there’s no solid proof that there is a direct cause and effect association, experts are investigating some persuasive clues. They think two main situations are responsible: the inability to socialize and your brain working overtime.
Studies have revealed that anxiety and depression are frequently the result of loneliness. And people aren’t as likely to socialize with other people when they cope with hearing loss. Many people find it hard to go out to the movies or dinner because they can’t hear very well. Mental health issues can be the outcome of this path of isolation.
Studies have also shown that when somebody has hearing loss, the brain has to work overtime to compensate for the diminished stimulation. The part of the brain that’s responsible for understanding sounds, such as voices in a conversation, needs more help from other parts of the brain – specifically, the part of the brain that keeps our memories intact. Cognitive decline will then develop faster than normal as the overtaxed brain struggles to keep up.
Using hearing aids to stop cognitive decline
Hearing aids are our first line of defense against cognitive decline, mental health issues, and dementia. When people use hearing aids to manage hearing loss, studies have revealed that they were at a reduced risk of dementia and had increased cognitive function.
We would see fewer cases of cognitive decline and mental health problems if more individuals would just use their hearing aids. Between 15% and 30% of people who need 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 cope with some kind of dementia. If hearing aids can lower 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 problems? Get in touch with 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.