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 need to ask people to speak up or repeat themselves when they talk. Maybe the volume on our TV keeps getting louder. We may even discover that we’re becoming forgetful.
Loss of memory is also frequently viewed as a standard part of aging because the senior population is more susceptible to Alzheimer’s and dementia than the general population. But what if the two were in some way connected? And could it be possible to safeguard your mental health and address hearing loss at the same time?
Hearing loss and mental decline
Mental decline and dementia are not commonly associated with hearing loss. 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.
Mental health problems such as 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 affect cognitive decline?
There is a connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline, and though there’s no solid proof that there’s a direct cause and effect relationship, experts are investigating some compelling clues. They believe two main situations are responsible: the inability to socialize and your brain working overtime.
Countless studies show that solitude leads to anxiety and depression. And when people suffer from hearing loss, they’re less likely to socialize with others. Many individuals find it difficult to go out to the movies or dinner because they can’t hear very well. Mental health problems can be the result of this path of solitude.
Studies have also shown that when someone has hearing loss, the brain has to work overtime to make up for the reduced stimulation. Ultimately, the part of the brain responsible for other tasks, like holding memories, has to use some of its resources to help the part of the brain responsible for hearing. This overtaxes the brain and causes mental decline to set in much faster than if the brain could process sounds normally.
How to stop mental decline with hearing aids
Hearing aids are our first line of defense against mental decline, mental health problems, and dementia. When people use hearing aids to address hearing loss, studies have revealed that they were at a decreased risk of dementia and had increased cognitive function.
We would see fewer instances of cognitive decline and mental health issues if more people would just use their hearing aids. Between 15% and 30% of people who need hearing aids actually use them, which accounts for between 4.5 million and 9 million people. Almost 50 million individuals cope with dementia as reported by the World Health Organization estimates. If hearing aids can reduce that number by even just a couple of million people, the quality of life for many individuals and families will be exponentially improved.
Are you ready to begin hearing better – and remembering things without any problems? Get in touch with us today and make an appointment for a consultation to find out if hearing aids are right for you and to get on the path to better mental health.