As we age we start to have difficulty hearing clearly and we typically just accept it as a normal part of growing older. Perhaps we begin to turn the volume up on the TV or keep asking our grandchildren to speak up when they’re talking to us, or maybe we start forgetting things?
Memory loss is also often regarded as a normal part of aging as dementia and Alzheimer’s are a lot more widespread in the senior citizen population than in the general population at large. But is it possible that there’s a link between the two? And is it possible to safeguard your mental health and address hearing loss at the same time?
Hearing loss and mental decline
Most individuals don’t associate hearing loss with mental decline and dementia. Nevertheless, the link is very clear if you look in the appropriate places: if you have hearing loss, even at low levels, studies have shown there’s a considerable risk of developing dementia or cognitive decline.
Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are also fairly prevalent in people who have hearing loss. The key point here is that hearing loss, mental health problems, and cognitive decline all influence our ability to socialize.
Why is cognitive decline impacted by hearing loss?
While there is no solid finding or conclusive proof that hearing loss causes cognitive decline and mental health issues, there is some link and numerous clues that experts are looking at. They believe two main scenarios are responsible: the inability to socialize and your brain working overtime.
Countless studies show that isolation brings about anxiety and depression. And when people have hearing loss, they’re less likely to socialize with other people. Many people find it hard 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 impairment, the brain has to work overtime to compensate for the diminished stimulation. Eventually, the part of the brain in charge of other tasks, like remembering, has to use some of its resources to help the region of the brain responsible for hearing. Mental decline will then develop faster than normal as the overworked brain strains to keep up.
How to stop mental decline with hearing aids
Hearing aids are our first line of defense against mental decline, mental health issues, and dementia. Studies show that people improved their cognitive functions and were at a lower risk of developing dementia when they used hearing aids to fight their hearing loss.
We would see fewer instances of cognitive decline and mental health issues if more people would just use 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. Nearly 50 million people cope with dementia as reported by the World Health Organization estimates. If hearing aids can decrease 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 start hearing better – and remembering things without any issue? Get on the path to better hearing and improved mental health by reaching out to us for a consultation.