Let’s be clear: Keeping your mind sharp and avoiding cognitive disorders including dementia and Alzheimer’s can be accomplished in several ways. Remaining social is one of the most important while engaging in the workforce seems to be another. Regardless of the method, though, treating hearing loss by using hearing aids makes these activities a great deal easier and contributes in its own way to combating cognitive issues.
These conditions, according to numerous studies, are often directly linked to hearing loss. What follows is a look at why hearing loss can lead to serious problems with your mental health and how solutions like hearing aids can help you keep your brain functioning at a higher level for a longer period of time.
How Hearing Loss Contributes to Cognitive Decline
The link between hearing loss and cognitive decline has been analyzed numerous times over the years by scientists at Johns Hopkins. The results of each study revealed the same story: people with hearing loss suffered from dementia and cognitive decline in higher rates than those without. One study revealed, 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. When you can’t properly process sound your brain has to work overtime according to leading theories. That means your brain is using more valuable energy on relatively simple activities, leaving a lot less of that energy for more complicated processes such as memory or cognitive functions.
Your mental health can also be significantly affected by hearing loss. Studies have shown that hearing loss is linked to anxiety, depression, and may even affect schizophrenia. All of these disorders also produce cognitive decline – as mentioned above, one of the best ways to safeguard your mental acuity is to stay socially active. Often, individuals who have hearing loss will turn to self isolation because they feel self conscious around other people. The lack of human interaction can cause the other mental health issues mentioned above and eventually lead to cognitive impairments.
How a Hearing Aid Can Help You Safeguard Your Mental Faculties
Hearing aids are perhaps one of the best tools we have to preserve mental acuity and combat disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The problem is that only one in seven of the millions of people over the age of 50 who suffer from hearing impairment actually use a hearing aid. It might be a stigma or a previous negative experience that keeps people using hearing aids, but in fact, hearing aids have been shown to help people preserve their cognitive function by helping them hear better.
There are circumstances where certain sounds will need to be relearned because they’ve been forgotten after extended hearing damage. It’s important to help your brain get back to processing more important tasks and hearing aids can do just that by preventing 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 start hearing better give us a call.