Can Brain Atrophy be Related to Hearing Loss?

Woman with long dark hair and black rimmed glasses experiencing cognitive decline.

As we get older we start to have trouble hearing clearly and we typically just accept it as a normal part of aging. Maybe we need to ask people to speak up or repeat themselves when they talk. Perhaps the volume on our TV keeps going up. We may even notice that we’re becoming forgetful.
Memory loss is also typically considered a natural part of aging as dementia and Alzheimer’s are much more widespread in the senior citizen population than in the younger population at large. But is it possible that there’s a connection between the two? And is it possible to maintain your mental health and treat hearing loss at the same time?

The link between cognitive decline and hearing loss

Cognitive decline and dementia are not usually associated with hearing loss. But if you look in the appropriate places, you will discover a clear link: studies show that there is a substantial risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-like disorders if you also suffer from hearing loss – even at fairly low levels of hearing impairment.
Mental health problems like anxiety and depression are also fairly prevalent in individuals who suffer from hearing loss. The key here is that hearing loss, mental health problems, and cognitive decline all affect our ability to socialize.

Why does hearing loss affect cognitive decline?

While there isn’t any concrete finding or conclusive proof that hearing loss causes cognitive decline and mental health problems, there is some connection and numerous clues that experts are investigating. They believe two main situations are responsible: the inability to interact socially and your brain working overtime.
Studies have demonstrated that depression and anxiety are frequently the result of isolation. And people are not as likely to socialize with others when they cope with hearing loss. Many people who suffered from hearing loss find it’s too hard to carry on conversations or can’t hear well enough to enjoy things like the movie theater. These actions lead down a path of isolation, which can result in mental health issues.

In addition, researchers have discovered that the brain frequently has to work overtime to make up for the fact that the ears can’t hear clearly. Ultimately, the part of the brain responsible for other tasks, like remembering, has to use some of its resources to help the region of the brain responsible for hearing. Cognitive decline will then progress faster than normal as the overworked brain struggles to keep up.

How to fight cognitive decline with hearing aids

Hearing aids are our first weapon against mental decline, mental health issues, and dementia. When people use hearing aids to deal with hearing loss, studies have revealed that they were at a decreased risk of dementia and had improved cognitive function.
If more people wore their hearing aids, we might see less instances of mental health problems and cognitive decline. Between 15% and 30% of individuals who require hearing aids actually use them, which accounts for between 4.5 million and 9 million people. Almost 50 million people cope with dementia according to the World Health Organization estimates. If hearing aids can lower that number by even just a couple of million people, the quality of life for many individuals and families will be exponentially improved.
Are you ready to improve your hearing and protect your memory at the same time? Contact us today and schedule a consultation to learn whether hearing aids are right for you and start moving toward better mental health.

References

https://hearinghealthfoundation.org/blogs/protecting-your-hearing-means-protecting-your-mental-health

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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