How Hearing Loss can Lead to Brain Atrophy
According to recent studies, it is more important now than ever to save your hearing well into your old age. There has been a new link established that closely ties the overall health of your brain and your hearing. In particular, a study has found that the brain suffers more damage in those people who suffer from overall hearing loss. Here we will take a look at the studies and their findings in order to explore this concept, while offering advice on how to keep your hearing at a health level.
How Hearing Affects Health
The study was undertaken by scientists and researchers at the Johns Hopkins University in a joint effort with The National Institute on Aging. They studied a population of 126 individuals while giving them an annual health physical examination as well as MRI. Over time, they found that there was a connection between reported hearing loss and the size of the individual’s brain. There is a certain level of expected hearing loss that occurs as an individual ages, but this far outpaced the expectations of the researchers.
A reduction in brain size is one of the major causes of mental faculty loss and dementia in older patients. The study continued and the researchers found that there was a direct and positive correlation between hearing loss and brain shrinkage. The researchers concluded that people who suffered from hearing loss had their brain’s diminish prematurely and with much more frequency than individuals who had normal levels of hearing. This left people with hearing loss far more likely to suffer from brain atrophy than others.
There is a simple means of explaining this widespread loss. The brain will try to compensate for any losses that it suffers in terms of sensation, meaning that hearing loss will prompt the brain to redirect its resources to other areas. This causes grey matter in the affected area to shrink and atrophy, which can lead to cognitive functions being impaired. The researchers concluded the study with a call to action, saying that people should do far more to protect their hearing.
How To Protect Your Hearing
There are some very basic ways that a person can go about safeguarding their hearing over time. The first thing that people can do is reduce the amount of time that they are exposed to loud noises. The second step that people can take to protect their hearing is to go to see their doctors on a regular schedule. They can take baseline readings for your hearing and then compare them to readings over time, and then implement ways to support your hearing if you begin to experience losses.
For people who already suffer from hearing loss, the best thing that you can do is to continue to see your doctor while making note of any significant or sudden changes in the quality of your hearing.