Make no mistake: there are several ways that you can maintain your mental acuity and stave off conditions such as cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Social engagement and involvement in the workforce are among the most noteworthy. Whichever methods are used to combat cognitive decline, however, keeping your hearing strong and wearing hearing aids if you need them will be immensely helpful.
Many studies show that the disorders listed above are all connected to neglected hearing loss. The following is a look at why hearing loss can lead to serious issues with your mental health and how strategies like hearing aids can help you keep your brain running at a higher level for a longer period of time.
The Relationship Between Hearing Loss And Cognitive Decline
Scientists at Johns Hopkins have conducted several studies over the years to analyze the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline. The same story was told by each study: individuals with hearing loss struggled with dementia and cognitive decline in higher rates than those without. One study showed, in fact, that there was a 24% higher instance of Alzheimer’s in individuals who have impaired hearing.
Even though dementia isn’t specifically caused by hearing loss there is certainly a link. The leading theories indicate that your brain must work overtime when you can’t effectively process sounds. That means that tasks like cognition and memory, which demand more energy, can’t function efficiently because your brain has to use so much of that energy on more simple tasks.
Hearing loss can also have a severe impact on your mental health. Anxiety, depression, and social isolation have all been associated with hearing loss and there might even be a connection with schizophrenia. All of these conditions also produce cognitive decline – as noted above, one of the optimum ways to safeguard your mental acuity is to stay socially active. In many instances, hearing loss causes people to feel self-conscious out in public, which means they’ll turn to isolation instead. The lack of human interaction can cause the other mental health problems listed above and potentially lead to cognitive impairments.
Keeping Your Mental Faculties Sharp With Hearing Aids
One of the best resources we have to combat dementia and other cognition conditions such as Alzheimer’s is hearing aids. Unfortunately, most people who need hearing aids don’t use them. People might avoid hearing aids because they’ve had a negative experience in the past or maybe they have some kind of stigma, but in fact, hearing aids have been proven to help people preserve their cognitive function by helping them hear better.
There are situations where specific sounds will need to be relearned because they’ve been forgotten after prolonged hearing damage. It’s important to let your brain go back to processing more important tasks and hearing aids can do just that by stopping this problem in the first place and helping you relearn any sounds the brain has forgotten.
If you want to learn what options are available to help you begin hearing better give us a call.