Treating Hearing Loss May Prevent Dementia
Hearing loss is often viewed as an issue that only causes one problem; you lose your ability to hear properly. Most people assume that the only consequences of this are that life becomes a lot quieter. But, hearing loss can actually lead to lots of other problems too - particularly where your brain is concerned.
Aside from leading to mental health issues like depression, there are some very strong links between hearing loss and dementia. It may seem farfetched to you, but allow us to explain everything. Below, we’ll discuss the connections between hearing loss and dementia - along with how treating this problem could potentially prevent dementia.
Does hearing loss cause dementia?
We can’t say that hearing loss is the direct cause of dementia. However, we can say that it is one of the many contributing factors. A study published in 2017 listed hearing loss as one of the nine modifiable lifestyle factors for dementia. In essence, it’s one of the nine things in life that can either contribute to dementia or reduce your risk of it.
How are hearing loss and dementia linked?
So, how does hearing loss contribute to dementia? To begin, we have to look at what causes dementia in the first place. Mainly, it’s down to a decline in your cognitive ability and brain health. When your cognitive skills decline, it means you struggle with things like problem-solving, memory, abstract thinking, and so on. This then leads to something called brain atrophy, which basically means your brain function starts to waste away.
Now, hearing loss is thought to contribute to a decline in your cognitive ability and brain function. When you struggle to hear things, your brain has to work harder than ever to pick up all the different sound signals. Eventually, this takes its toll on you, and you become tired. You don’t want to put yourself through the difficulty of processing loads of sounds, so you stay at home.
From here, you become more inactive and lonely. As a result, your brain doesn’t get the chance to stimulate itself properly. Talking to people and being social helps train your cognitive ability. So, removing this from your life leads to cognitive decline.
Consequently, this can speed up the chances of getting dementia. You starve your brain of regular cognitive activities, which boosts the rate of brain atrophy. Therefore, you start seeing symptoms of dementia earlier than expected.
Can treating hearing loss prevent dementia?
Having hearing loss doesn’t automatically give you a one-way ticket to dementia. In fact, there’s a lot of talk suggesting that treating the issue can help prevent dementia.
In essence, you have to ensure that your brain remains active and that you keep enhancing your cognitive ability. So, if hearing loss changes this by making it difficult for your brain to process signals, then there’s an easy solution; hearing aids.
As a hearing instrument specialist, we’ve seen the impact these devices have on people’s lives. A hearing aid gives you the ability to process sound and hear correctly. It lessens the load on your brain, which means you don’t feel tired, and you have no reason to become socially inactive.
When you don’t treat hearing loss, you have to deal with this burden weighing down on you. The thought of going to the shops becomes awful for you. You worry about not hearing what someone is saying or having to ask the cashier to keep repeating themselves. It makes you feel embarrassed, which is what encourages you to stay indoors and avoid contact with as many people as possible.
But, when you treat hearing loss with hearing aids, this doesn’t become a big issue anymore. You know that you’ll have no problem hearing other people so that you can reclaim your social life. Your brain gets all the stimulation it needs, which decreases your chances of developing dementia.
When should you seek treatment for hearing loss?
As we mentioned earlier, hearing loss is one of the modifiable lifestyle factors for dementia. If you let this problem manifest, then you boost your chances of dementia. If you take action and treat your hearing loss, then you prevent dementia. So, the moment you notice telltale signs of hearing loss, seek treatment from a hearing instrument specialist.
Contact us to learn more about hearing loss treatments
Do you suffer from hearing loss? If so, then it’s essential you get the treatment you need. At Integrity Hearing Solutions, we can help treat your problem and discuss different hearing aid options. Please call us at 727-602-3899 (Mechanicsburg) or 717-245-2437 (Carlisle) to learn more.