As we age we begin to have difficulty hearing clearly and we usually just accept it as a normal part of aging. Maybe we need to ask people to speak up or repeat themselves when they talk. Perhaps the volume on our TV keeps going up. We might even discover that we’re becoming forgetful.
Loss of memory is also frequently seen as a normal part of aging because the senior population is more prone to Alzheimer’s and dementia than the general population. But what if the two were somehow connected? And, even better, what if there was a way to address hearing loss and also preserve your memories and mental health?
Hearing loss and mental decline
Most people don’t associate hearing loss with cognitive decline and dementia. But if you look in the right places, you will see a clear link: if you’re experiencing hearing loss, even at low levels, studies have revealed there’s a significant risk of developing dementia or cognitive decline.
People who cope with hearing loss also often have mental health problems including anxiety and depression. The key here is that hearing loss, mental health problems, and cognitive decline all affect our ability to socialize.
Why does hearing loss affect cognitive decline?
While there isn’t any concrete finding or definitive proof that hearing loss causes cognitive decline and mental health problems, there is some association and several clues that experts are looking at. They think two main situations are responsible: the inability to socialize and your brain working overtime.
Countless studies show that isolation leads to depression and anxiety. And people aren’t as likely to socialize with other people when they have hearing loss. Many individuals who suffered from hearing loss find it’s too hard to participate in 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 bring about mental health issues.
In addition, researchers have found that the brain often has to work harder to make up for the fact that the ears can’t hear clearly. The part of the brain that’s responsible for understanding sounds, like voices in a conversation, requires more help from other parts of the brain – namely, the part of the brain that keeps our memories intact. This overworks the brain and causes cognitive decline to set in much faster than if the brain was able to process sounds normally.
How to fight mental decline with hearing aids
Hearing aids are our first line of defense against mental decline, mental health issues, and dementia. When people use hearing aids to manage hearing loss, studies have revealed that they were at a decreased risk of dementia and had increased cognitive function.
We would see fewer cases of cognitive decline and mental health problems if more people would just wear their hearing aids. Of all the individuals who need hearing aids, only between 15% and 30% actually use them, that’s between 5 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 enhanced if hearing aids can decrease that number by even a couple million people.
Are you ready to start hearing better – and remembering things without any issue? Contact 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.