Make no mistake: Keeping your mind sharp and avoiding cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s can be accomplished in a number of ways. Social engagement and participation in the workforce are among the most notable. Whichever methods you employ to combat cognitive decline, however, keeping your hearing strong and using hearing aids if you need them will be extremely helpful.
Many studies show that the conditions listed above are all connected to neglected hearing loss. The following is a look at why hearing loss can lead to serious issues with your mental health and how strategies like hearing aids can help you keep your brain running at a higher level for a longer period of time.
How Hearing Loss Contributes to Cognitive Decline
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have conducted numerous studies over the years to examine the link between cognitive decline and hearing loss. The same story was told by each study: individuals with hearing loss experienced dementia and cognitive decline in higher rates than those without. Actually, one study showed that people with hearing loss were 24% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than people with healthy hearing.
Even though dementia isn’t directly caused by hearing loss there is certainly a link. When you can’t properly process sound your brain has to work harder according to leading theories. That means your brain is using more valuable energy on relatively simple tasks, leaving a lot less of that energy for more challenging processes like memory or cognitive functions.
Hearing loss can also have a serious affect on your mental health. Anxiety, social isolation, and depression have all been linked to hearing loss and there may even be a connection with schizophrenia. All of these conditions also produce cognitive decline – as noted above, one of the optimum ways to safeguard your mental acuity is to stay socially active. In many cases, hearing loss causes people to feel self-conscious out in public, which means they’ll turn to isolation instead. The mental issues listed above are typically the result of the lack of human interaction and can inevitably produce serious cognitive decline.
Keeping Your Mental Faculties Sharp With Hearing Aids
Hearing aids are perhaps one of the best tools we have to preserve mental acuity and fight disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The issue is that only one out of seven of the millions of people 50 or older who deal with hearing loss actually wear a hearing aid. It might be a stigma or a previous negative experience that keeps people using hearing aids, but the fact is that they are proven to help people hear better and retain their cognitive functions for longer periods of time.
There are circumstances where specific sounds will have to be relearned because they’ve been forgotten after prolonged hearing damage. A hearing aid can either stop that scenario from happening in the first place or help you relearn those sounds, which will let your brain focus on other, more essential tasks.
Get in touch with us today to discover what options are available to help you start hearing better in this decade and beyond.