Hearing Loss Linked To Memory Loss - Hearing Loss And Dementia
Aging comes with its fair share of complications. Hearing loss and dementia are difficulties that many older adults face. As it turns out, the two are linked.
By the time you reach your 70's, there's a good chance you'll be one of the two-thirds of Americans struggling with hearing loss. While most view this issue as a natural side effect of aging and nothing to be overly concerned about, the loss of hearing could have a detrimental effect on your overall brain health.
For some, this news may be alarming. Fortunately, there's also good news. Aggressively treating hearing loss early on could help stave off cognitive decline and dementia in older adults.
The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Dementia
Dementia is not necessarily a disease, but a catch-all term describing difficulty with thinking, problem-solving and other mental tasks. Mounting evidence shows that losing your hearing increases your risk of dementia and memory loss.
While not all who struggle with hearing loss develop dementia, scientists have found that the worse the hearing problems, the greater the chances of mental decline. Researchers aren't exactly sure of the link between these two conditions. The reasons hearing loss seemingly affect memory loss include the following factors:
- Cognitive overload: When you don't hear well, your brain can become over-stressed by constantly straining to hear and understand. This process takes away brain resources that could be used for other functions.
- Understimulation: If your ears no longer pick up sounds the way they used to, hearing nerves send fewer signals to your brain. Without stimulation, certain brain cells can shrink, causing brain function to decline.
- Social isolation: A normal side effect of hearing loss is a feeling of isolation. When you're unable to join in conversations or socialize with others because you can't hear, loneliness and social isolation can result. There has long been a link between social isolation and increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline. Hearing loss may cause this decline to happen more quickly than it otherwise would.
Ways to Promote Good Brain Health
As you get older, it becomes more important than ever to focus on habits and activities that will keep your mind active and promote good brain health. Strategies include:
- Activities that engage your mind: Even at retirement age, you still want to participate in activities that will engage your mind, such as board games, learning a new language and active reading.
- Social interactions: Get out of the house and find opportunities for socialization. Doing so will keep your brain cells active and healthy.
- Healthy habits: No matter your age, regular exercise and healthy eating are essential to overall good health, including brain health.
If you find that your ability to hear is declining as you get older, it's essential that you get a hearing screening. This quick and painless test will help you determine if you've experienced hearing loss and if hearing aids would help you.
Enjoy Improved Hearing by Contacting Beltone Today
While significant hearing loss is a common issue among older adults, fewer than 25% to 30% of those suffering from a loss of hearing use hearing aids, increasing the overall risk of mental decline.
To ensure your overall good health, we invite you to contact Beltone today. You can schedule a free hearing evaluation to determine whether hearing aids will improve your ability to hear.