Is Hearing Loss Connected to Cognitive Decline?
It's a well-known fact that as we age, we experience a cognitive decline at some level. The range is dependent on the individual. For some people it can be a mild case, for others more serious. Typical issues that tend to follow are difficulty concentrating or focusing, having a hard time remembering details, and taking longer to learn new things. While we're not able to stop cognitive decline from happening, new studies are showing that we may have the ability to slow the process down.
Recent studies suggest that older adults with hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Further research has suggested the hearing loss can be associated with a faster rate of cognitive decline.
So, you may be asking why this is?
There are several theories that researches have come up with. Some include:
1. Social isolation. When someone has a hard time hearing the idea of going out into social situations can feel overwhelming. The more isolated a person becomes, the less stimuli their brain receives.
2. Cognitive load. When a person goes on with untreated hearing loss, their brain gets overworked by constantly straining to try to understand the sound and speech. If your brain is overworked, it's efficiency level starts to decline.
3. Brain structure. With a lack of stimulation, brain cells can shrink, including the parts of the brain that process sound.
Staying mentally stimulated is one of the most important things you can do to keep your brain and body healthy as you age. Choosing to keep up with an active social life with family, friends, and neighbors is a great way to stay mentally engaged. You can stay encouraged to be a part of social situations by practicing good hearing health, including the use of hearings aids for those who have hearing loss.
Research shows that the use of hearing aids for those with hearing loss can lower your risk factor of dementia. In a study of nearly 4,000 volunteers over a 25-year period showed that people with hearing loss who didn't use hearing aids had a higher risk of depression and dementia but that those who had hearing loss and did use hearing aids experienced cognitive decline at a closer rate to those who didn't have hearing loss.
Making your hearing health a priority by wearing hearing aids if you experience hearing loss is an important factor in slowing the process of cognitive decline. One way to ensure that you're putting your hearing health first is to go in for an annual hearing screening.
Here at Texan Renew Hearing Center we want to make sure that your hearing health is a priority. Give us a call today to schedule your free hearing screening.