Hearing Health Blog

Wooden brain puzzle representing mental decline due to hearing loss.

Dementia and hearing loss, what’s the link? Brain health and hearing loss have a link which medical science is starting to comprehend. It was discovered that even mild neglected hearing loss raises your risk of developing dementia.

These two seemingly unrelated health conditions could have a pathological link. So how can a hearing test help decrease the danger of hearing loss related dementia?

Dementia, what is it?

The Mayo Clinic states that dementia is a cluster of symptoms that change memory, alter the ability to think concisely, and reduce socialization skills. Individuals tend to think of Alzheimer’s disease when they hear dementia most likely because it is a common form. Around five million people in the US are impacted by this progressive form of dementia. Precisely how hearing health impacts the danger of dementia is finally well understood by scientists.

How hearing works

The ear mechanisms are extremely intricate and each one matters when it comes to good hearing. As waves of sound vibration move towards the inner ear, they get amplified. Inside the maze of the inner ear, tiny hair cells vibrate in response to the sound waves to transmit electrical signals that the brain decodes.

Over time, many people develop a gradual decline in their ability to hear because of years of damage to these delicate hair cells. Comprehension of sound becomes a lot more difficult because of the reduction of electrical impulses to the brain.

Research suggests that this slow loss of hearing isn’t only an irrelevant part of aging. Whether the impulses are unclear and garbled, the brain will attempt to decode them anyway. That effort puts stress on the organ, making the person struggling to hear more vulnerable to developing dementia.

Here are a few disease risk factors with hearing loss in common:

  • Reduction in alertness
  • Exhaustion
  • Memory impairment
  • Depression
  • Weak overall health
  • Inability to master new tasks
  • Irritability

The risk of developing cognitive decline can increase based on the degree of your hearing loss, too. A person with just minor hearing loss has double the risk. More advanced hearing loss means three times the danger and somebody with extreme, neglected loss of hearing has up to five times the risk of developing dementia. The cognitive skills of more than 2,000 older adults were observed by Johns Hopkins University over six years. Cognitive and memory issues are 24 percent more likely in individuals who have hearing loss severe enough to disrupt conversation, according to this research.

Why a hearing assessment matters

Not everyone understands how even a little hearing loss impacts their general health. For most people, the decline is slow so they don’t always know there is an issue. The human brain is good at adapting as hearing declines, so it’s less noticeable.

We will be able to effectively assess your hearing health and track any changes as they occur with routine hearing exams.

Using hearing aids to decrease the danger

Scientists presently think that the connection between dementia and hearing loss is largely based on the brain stress that hearing loss causes. So hearing aids should be capable of decreasing the risk, based on that fact. A hearing assistance device amplifies sound while filtering out background noise that disrupts your hearing and relieves the stress on your brain. With a hearing aid, the brain won’t work so hard to comprehend the audio messages it’s getting.

Individuals who have normal hearing can still possibly get dementia. What science thinks is that hearing loss quickens the decline in the brain, increasing the risk of cognitive problems. Having regular hearing tests to identify and manage hearing loss before it gets too serious is key to decreasing that risk.

Contact us today to make an appointment for a hearing exam if you’re concerned that you may be dealing with hearing loss.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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