Hearing Loss and Dementia

Dementia Risk Increases With Untreated Hearing Loss

Did you know that an untreated hearing loss can lead to more serious issues, often including dementia in seniors? Our brain reduces in size as we age and shrinkage may be fast-tracked in younger adults who leave hearing loss untreated. There is a potential upside in that it’s not too late to reduce those risks by acting before it is too late.

Impacts of Using a Hearing Aid

The use of hearing aids to treat your hearing loss can greatly reduce the risk of developing dementia later in life. In a French scientific research study done over the course of 25 years and using 3,800 participants, it was found that there is a serious connection between hearing loss and dementia. Adults with hearing loss who do not use hearing aids are at a serious higher risk of developing dementia as seniors compared to adults who utilize hearing aid and hearing loss treatments early on in life. Overall, the risk of dementia is reduced by 21% just by the simple use of hearing aid technology.

Age vs. Dementia Risk

Further findings concern the comparison of the dementia risk, hearing loss, and age factor. It is known that dementia affects seniors more than any other age group, but young adults with hearing loss are reported to have a higher risk than other adults in the same age category who do not suffer from hearing loss. Self-reported hearing loss is accelerated with rise in age.

According to a research study done by John Hopkins, close to 80% of seniors, or adults who are approaching senior age, do not ask for help with their hearing issues. Most assume it is only a natural part of aging and deal with the consequences with thinking that there is no other options.

Ways in Which Hearing May Lead to Dementia

The most common physiological pathway that leads to cognitive decline resulting from hearing loss is high blood pressure. Another possibility is what scientists call "cognitive load." The constant effort for straining to understand through hearing stresses the brain. This one makes instinctive sense. If you put too much effort trying to comprehend what you are hearing, chances are, you will tend to take more resources that would have otherwise be used for encoding whatever you are hearing. If it becomes easier for a person to hear with the use of hearing aids, it becomes obvious that more of their energy will be used to for other, more important, cognitive skills.

Hearing loss may affect the brain structure. Older adults with hearing loss possess less grey matter in the part of the brain where sound is detected and processed. Brain structures will shrink if they are well stimulated.

Social isolation is also a factor that contributes to hearing loss, and hence dementia. Whenever one struggle to converse, he or she is less likely to engage in conversation or be socially active. Being socially isolated has been recognized as one of the many risk factors contributing to cognitive decline and dementia.

Managing Your Hearing

The general means of managing your hearing is through adopting a healthy lifestyle in all the three dimensions - emotional, physical, and mental wellness. Another factor that leads to impaired hearing loss is the loud volumes on personal electronic devices. This causes a condition known, as NIHL (Noise Induced Hearing Loss) .It is only wise to have your noise controlled. Also, make sure that you make regular visits to the qualified hearing healthcare professional.

Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss

The complex human body functions like a machine in that the loss of one element leads to other parts not being able to function effectively. This same relationship exists in the auditory system. It impairs the functioning of other facets of mental health, as well as physical health.

It is quite unfortunate that many people with a hearing loss either ignore or are unaware of the risks that lurk if the condition is not timely harnessed for treatment. There is a wide range of risks associated with lack of treatment to the hearing loss. Apart from dementia, there are other risks that include Alzheimer’s Disease, disability, and depression.

Seek Professional Help With Your Hearing Loss

If you noticed that you are having hearing loss symptoms, consult a physician before things get worse. The more you postpone treatment for your hearing loss, the more likely your brain tends to forget interpreting the sounds. This might be a recipe for dementia. With an untreated hearing loss, you risk the chances of dementia or other diseases and disabilities. Schedule your free hearing screening with Advanced Audiology so that you can get the upper hand on your hearing loss symptoms before it is too late.

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