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Wooden brain puzzle representing mental decline due to hearing loss.

Dementia and hearing loss, what’s the link? Brain health and hearing loss have a connection which medical science is starting to comprehend. It was found that even minor untreated hearing loss increases your risk of developing dementia.

These two seemingly unconnected health disorders could have a pathological link. So, how does hearing loss put you in danger of dementia and how can a hearing test help combat it?

What is dementia?

Dementia is a condition that reduces memory ability, thinking, and socialization skills, as reported by the Mayo Clinic. Individuals tend to think of Alzheimer’s disease when they hear dementia most likely because it is a prevalent form. About five million people in the US are impacted by this progressive kind of dementia. Today, medical science has a comprehensive understanding of how hearing health alters the risk of dementias like Alzheimer’s disease.

How hearing works

In terms of good hearing, every part of the intricate ear component matters. As waves of sound vibration move towards the inner ear, they’re amplified. Electrical impulses are transmitted to the brain for decoding by tiny little hairs in the inner ear that shake in response to waves of sound.

As time passes, many individuals develop a progressive decline in their ability to hear because of years of damage to these delicate hair cells. The outcome is a reduction in the electrical impulses to the brain that makes it difficult to comprehend sound.

This progressive hearing loss is sometimes regarded as a normal and inconsequential part of the aging process, but research indicates that’s not accurate. Whether the impulses are unclear and garbled, the brain will attempt to decode them anyway. That effort puts strain on the organ, making the person struggling to hear more susceptible to developing cognitive decline.

Loss of hearing is a risk factor for lots of diseases that result in:

  • Irritability
  • Trouble learning new skills
  • Reduction in alertness
  • Exhaustion
  • Impaired memory
  • Depression
  • Weak overall health

And the more severe your hearing loss the higher your risk of cognitive decline. An individual with just minor hearing loss has twice the risk. More advanced hearing loss means three times the danger and somebody with severe, neglected loss of hearing has up to five times the risk of developing dementia. Research by Johns Hopkins University watched the cognitive skills of more than 2,000 older adults over a six-year period. Memory and cognitive problems are 24 percent more likely in individuals who have hearing loss significant enough to disrupt conversation, according to this research.

Why is a hearing test important?

Not everyone understands how even slight hearing loss affects their general health. Most individuals don’t even know they have hearing loss because it progresses so gradually. The human brain is good at adapting as hearing declines, so it’s less obvious.

We will be able to effectively assess your hearing health and track any changes as they occur with regular hearing exams.

Using hearing aids to reduce the danger

Scientists presently think that the connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss has a lot to do with the brain stress that hearing loss produces. So hearing aids should be capable of decreasing the risk, based on that fact. The strain on your brain will be reduced by using a hearing aid to filter out unwanted background noise while enhancing sounds you want to hear. With a hearing aid, the brain won’t work so hard to comprehend the audio messages it’s receiving.

People who have normal hearing can still possibly develop dementia. What science thinks is that hearing loss speeds up the decline in the brain, raising the risk of cognitive problems. Getting regular hearing tests to identify and manage hearing loss before it gets too extreme is key to reducing that risk.

If you’re worried that you might be dealing with hearing loss, contact us today to schedule your hearing evaluation.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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