Make no mistake: there are a few ways that you can maintain your mental acuteness and ward off conditions such as dementia, cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s disease. Staying socially active is one of the most essential while engaging in the workforce seems to be another. Whatever methods you employ to combat cognitive decline, however, keeping your hearing strong and using hearing aids if you need them will be tremendously helpful.
These disorders, according to many studies, are frequently directly linked to hearing loss. The following is a look at why hearing loss can cause serious issues with your mental health and how strategies like hearing aids can help you keep your brain running at a higher level for a longer period of time.
How Hearing Loss Contributes to Cognitive Decline
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have conducted numerous studies over the years to analyze the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline. The results of each study revealed the same story: individuals with hearing loss experienced dementia and cognitive decline in higher rates than those without. Actually, one study showed that people with hearing loss were 24% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than people with healthy hearing.
Hearing loss by itself does not cause dementia, but there is a link between these conditions. The primary theories indicate that your brain has to work overtime when you can’t effectively process sounds. That means your brain is using more valuable energy on fairly simple tasks, leaving a lot less of that energy for more advanced processes like cognitive function and memory.
Hearing loss can also have a serious impact on your mental health. Anxiety, social isolation, and depression have all been linked to hearing loss and there may even be a connection with schizophrenia. All of these disorders also produce cognitive decline – as noted above, one of the best ways to maintain your mental acuity is to stay socially active. Often, people who have hearing loss will turn to self isolation because they feel self conscious around other people. The mental problems listed above are typically the result of the lack of human contact and can inevitably produce significant cognitive decline.
Keeping Your Mental Faculties Sharp With Hearing Aids
Hearing aids are probably one of the best tools we have to maintain mental sharpness and combat conditions like 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 loss actually use a hearing aid. It could be a stigma or a previous bad experience that keeps people from hearing aids, but in fact, hearing aids have been shown to help people preserve their cognitive function by helping them hear better.
When your hearing is damaged for an extended amount of time, the brain could forget how to identify some common sounds and will need to learn them all over again. It’s essential to let your brain get back to processing more important tasks and hearing aids can do just that by stopping this problem in the first place and helping you relearn any sounds the brain has forgotten.
Get in touch with us today to learn what options are available to help you start hearing better in this decade and beyond.