Hearing loss is generally accepted as just a normal part of the aging process: as we get older, we begin to hear things a little less clearly. 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 discover that we’re becoming forgetful.
Loss of memory is also often seen 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, better yet, what if there was a way to address hearing loss and also preserve your memories and mental health?
Hearing loss and mental decline
Cognitive decline and dementia aren’t commonly connected to hearing loss. But if you look in the appropriate places, you will find a clear link: if you have hearing loss, even at low levels, studies have revealed there’s a significant risk of developing dementia or cognitive decline.
Mental health problems like anxiety and depression are also fairly prevalent in individuals who have hearing loss. The key point here is that hearing loss, mental health problems, and cognitive decline all affect our ability to socialize.
Why is cognitive decline affected by hearing loss?
There is a link between hearing loss and cognitive decline, and though there’s no solid proof that there is a direct cause and effect relationship, experts are investigating some compelling clues. They believe two main scenarios are responsible: your brain working harder to hear and social separation.
Countless studies show that loneliness leads to anxiety and depression. And when people have hearing loss, they’re less likely to socialize with other people. Many people 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. Mental health issues can be the outcome of this path of solitude.
Studies have also revealed that when someone has hearing loss, the brain has to work extra hard to compensate for the diminished stimulation. The region of the brain that processes sounds, such as voices in a conversation, requires more help from other parts of the brain – specifically, the part of the brain that stores memories. Cognitive decline will then progress faster than normal as the overworked brain strains to keep up.
How to fight mental decline with hearing aids
Hearing aids are our first weapon against mental decline, mental health problems, and dementia. When patients use hearing aids to manage hearing loss, studies have revealed that they were at a lower risk of dementia and had increased cognitive function.
If more people used their hearing aids, we may see less instances of mental health problems and cognitive decline. 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 deal with some kind of dementia. For many individuals and families, the quality of life will be improved if hearing aids can decrease that number by even a couple million people.
Are you ready to improve your hearing and protect your memory at the same time? Contact us today and schedule a consultation to find out if hearing aids are right for you and to get on the path to better mental health.