If you start talking about dementia at your next family gathering, you will most likely put a dark cloud above the whole event.
The subject of dementia can be really frightening and most individuals aren’t going to purposely talk about it. Dementia, which is a degenerative cognitive condition, makes you lose a grip on reality, experience loss of memory, and causes an over-all loss of mental function. It’s not something anybody looks forward to.
So preventing or at least slowing dementia is important for many individuals. It turns out, untreated hearing loss and dementia have some fairly clear connections and correlations.>
That might seem a bit… surprising to you. After all, what does your brain have to do with your ears (lots, it turns out)? Why are the dangers of dementia multiplied with hearing loss?>
When you ignore hearing loss, what are the consequences?
You realize that you’re beginning to lose your hearing, but it’s not at the top of your list of worries. You can simply turn up the volume, right? Maybe, when you watch your favorite show, you’ll just put on the captions.
Or perhaps your hearing loss has gone undetected so far. Perhaps the signs are still easy to ignore. Either way, hearing loss and cognitive decline have a strong correlation. That might have something to do with what happens when you have untreated hearing loss.
- It becomes more difficult to understand conversations. You could start to keep yourself isolated from others as a result of this. You can draw away from friends, family, and loved ones. You’ll talk to others less. It’s bad for your brain to isolate yourself like this. It’s not good for your social life either. What’s more, many individuals who experience hearing loss-related social isolation don’t even recognize it’s happening, and they most likely won’t connect their solitude to their hearing.
- Your brain will start to work much harder. When you have untreated hearing loss, your ears don’t get nearly as much audio information (this is sort of obvious, yes, but stick with us). Because of this, your brain tries to fill in the gaps. This will really exhaust your brain. The present theory is, when this takes place, your brain draws power from your thought and memory centers. The idea is that over time this leads to dementia (or, at least, helps it progress). Mental stress and exhaustion, along with other possible symptoms, can be the consequence of your brain needing to work so hard.
You might have thought that your hearing loss was more harmless than it actually is.
Hearing loss is one of the leading signs of dementia
Maybe your hearing loss is mild. Whispers may get lost, but you can hear everything else so…no problem right? Well, turns out you’re still twice as likely to get dementia as somebody who doesn’t have hearing loss.
Meaning that even mild hearing loss is a pretty strong preliminary indication of a dementia risk.
So… How should we interpret this?
We’re looking at risk in this circumstance which is important to note. Hearing loss isn’t an early symptom of dementia and there isn’t any guarantee it will result in dementia. It does mean that later in life you will have a greater chance of developing cognitive decline. But that could actually be good news.
Because it means that effectively dealing with your hearing loss can help you lower your risk of cognitive decline. So how can you manage your hearing loss? There are numerous ways:
- You can take a few measures to safeguard your hearing from further damage if you detect your hearing loss soon enough. You could, for instance, wear ear protection if you work in a loud environment and steer clear of noisy events such as concerts or sporting events.
- Using a hearing aid can help decrease the affect of hearing loss. So, can dementia be stopped by using hearing aids? That’s not an easy question to answer, but we appreciate that brain function can be enhanced by wearing hearing aids. Here’s the reason why: You’ll be more socially involved and your brain won’t have to work so hard to have discussions. Research implies that treating hearing loss can help reduce your risk of developing dementia in the future. That’s not the same as preventing dementia, but it’s a good thing regardless.
- Make an appointment with us to diagnose your present hearing loss.
Lowering your risk of dementia – other methods
You can reduce your chance of dementia by doing some other things too, of course. Here are a few examples:
- Eating more healthy food, especially one that helps you keep your blood pressure from getting too high. In some cases, medication can help here, some people simply have naturally higher blood pressure; those individuals could need medication sooner than later.
- Exercise is necessary for good general health and that includes hearing health.
- Don’t smoke. Seriously. It just makes everything bad, and that includes your chance of experiencing dementia (this list also includes drinking too much alcohol).
- Getting sufficient sleep at night is crucial. Some studies link less than four hours of sleep every night to an increase in the risk of dementia.
The connection between lifestyle, hearing loss, and dementia is still being examined by scientists. It’s a complex disease with an array of causes. But the lower your risk, the better.
Being able to hear is its own advantage
So, hearing better will help lower your overall danger of developing cognitive decline in the future. You’ll be improving your life now, not only in the future. Imagine, no more solitary trips to the store, no more lost conversations, no more misunderstandings.
Losing out on the important things in life is no fun. And taking steps to manage your hearing loss, perhaps by using hearing aids, can be a big help.
So call us today for an appointment.