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 start turning the volume up on the TV or keep asking our grandchildren to speak up when they’re talking to us, or maybe we begin to forget things?
Memory loss is also often considered a normal part of aging as dementia and Alzheimer’s are a lot more common in the senior citizen population than in the general population at large. But what if the two were in some way related? And could it be possible to safeguard your mental health and manage hearing loss at the same time?
Hearing loss and mental decline
Cognitive decline and dementia are not usually associated with hearing loss. But if you look in the right places, you will find a clear link: if you’re experiencing hearing loss, even at low levels, studies have shown there’s a considerable risk of developing dementia or cognitive decline.
Mental health problems including anxiety and depression are also fairly prevalent in individuals who have hearing loss. Your ability to socialize is affected by cognitive decline, mental health problems, and hearing loss which is the common thread.
Why does hearing loss impact cognitive decline?
While there is no solid finding or conclusive proof that hearing loss causes cognitive decline and mental health problems, there is some association and several clues that experts are investigating. They believe two main scenarios are responsible: your brain working harder to hear and social solitude.
Many studies show that solitude brings about depression and anxiety. And people aren’t as likely to socialize with other people when they have hearing loss. Many individuals find it hard to go out to the movies or dinner because they can’t hear very well. Mental health issues can be the result of this path of solitude.
Additionally, researchers have found that the brain frequently has to work harder to make up for the fact that the ears can’t hear clearly. Eventually, the part of the brain in charge of other tasks, like holding memories, has to use some of its resources to help the region of the brain responsible for hearing. This overtaxes the brain and causes cognitive decline to set in a lot faster than if the brain was able to process sounds normally.
How to stop mental decline with hearing aids
The weapon against mental health issues and mental decline is hearing aids. When patients use hearing aids to address 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. Of all the people who require 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 suffer from some kind of dementia. For many individuals and families, the quality of life will be improved if hearing aids can reduce that number by even a couple million people.
Are you ready to start hearing better – and remembering things without any trouble? 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.