Want to suck all the joy out of your next family gathering? Start talking about dementia.
Dementia isn’t a topic most individuals are actively looking to discuss, mainly because it’s pretty frightening. Dementia, which is a degenerative cognitive condition, causes you to lose touch with reality, experience loss of memory, and causes a general loss of mental faculties. No one wants to go through that.
For this reason, many people are seeking a way to counter, or at least slow, the advancement of dementia. There are several clear connections, as it turns out, between dementia and neglected hearing loss.>
That may seem a bit… surprising to you. After all, what does your brain have to do with your ears (lots, actually)? Why does hearing loss raise the risk of dementia?>
When you disregard hearing loss, what are the consequences?
Maybe you’ve detected your hearing loss already, but you aren’t that concerned about it. It’s nothing that cranking up the volume on your television won’t solve, right? Maybe you’ll simply turn on the captions when you’re watching your favorite program.
But then again, maybe you haven’t noticed your hearing loss yet. Maybe the signs are still hard to detect. Cognitive decline and hearing loss are strongly connected either way. That’s because of the effects of untreated hearing loss.
- Conversation becomes more difficult to understand. Consequently, you may begin isolating yourself socially. You might become removed from loved ones and friends. You won’t talk with people as much. This type of social isolation is, well, not good for your brain. It’s not good for your social life either. Further, most people who have this kind of isolation won’t even know that hearing loss is the cause.
- Your brain will be working harder. When you have neglected hearing loss, your ears don’t get nearly as much audio information (this is sort of obvious, yes, but stay with us). This will leave your brain filling in the missing info. This will really tire your brain out. The current theory is, when this occurs, your brain draws power from your thinking and memory centers. It’s believed that this could speed up the onset of dementia. Mental stress and exhaustion, along with other possible symptoms, can be the outcome of your brain having to work so hard.
So your hearing loss isn’t quite as innocuous as you may have thought.
One of the major indicators of dementia is hearing loss
Let’s say you only have slight hearing impairment. Whispers may get lost, but you’re able to hear everything else so…no problem right? Well, turns out you’re still twice as likely to get dementia as somebody who does not have hearing loss.
Which means that even mild hearing loss is a pretty strong initial indication of a dementia risk.
So… How should we interpret this?
We’re looking at risk in this situation which is important to note. Hearing loss is not a guarantee of cognitive decline or even an early symptom of dementia. It does mean that later in life you will have an increased chance of developing cognitive decline. But that could actually be good news.
Because it means that successfully managing your hearing loss can help you reduce your chance of dementia. So how can you deal with your hearing loss? Here are several ways:
- Using a hearing aid can help reduce the affect of hearing loss. So, can dementia be stopped by using hearing aids? That’s not an easy question to answer, but we know that brain function can be enhanced by using hearing aids. Here’s the reason why: You’ll be more socially involved and your brain won’t need to work so hard to carry on conversations. Your risk of developing dementia later in life is decreased by managing hearing loss, research implies. That’s not the same as preventing dementia, but it’s a good thing regardless.
- Make an appointment with us to diagnose your existing hearing loss.
- If your hearing loss is caught early, there are certain steps you can take to protect your hearing. You could, for instance, use ear protection if you work in a noisy environment and steer clear of noisy events like concerts or sporting events.
Lowering your risk of dementia – other methods
Naturally, there are other things you can do to reduce your chance of cognitive decline, too. Here are some examples:
- A diet that helps you maintain a healthy blood pressure and is generally healthy can go a long way. For individuals who naturally have higher blood pressure, it could be necessary to use medication to lower it.
- Quit smoking. Seriously. It just makes everything bad, and that includes your chance of developing cognitive decline (excess alcohol use can also go on this list).
- Getting enough sleep at night is imperative. Some studies have linked a higher chance of dementia to getting fewer than four hours of sleep every night.
- Get some exercise.
Needless to say, scientists are still researching the link between dementia, hearing impairment, lifestyle, and more. There are so many causes that make this disease so complicated. But any way you can lower your risk is good.
Hearing is its own benefit
So, hearing better will help decrease your overall danger of developing cognitive decline down the line. You’ll be bettering your life now, not just in the future. Imagine, no more missed discussions, no more garbled misunderstandings, no more silent and lonely visits to the grocery store.
It’s no fun missing out on life’s important moments. And taking steps to control your hearing loss, possibly by using hearing aids, can be a big help.
So call us today for an appointment.