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Have you ever wondered about the benefits of early detection of hearing loss and its relationship to decreasing the chances of cognitive decline? Studies show, those who treat their HL with hearing devices could potentially reduce/delay the onset of dementia. The key is early detection and immediate action. Recent research has linked surprisingly the slightest HL with cognitive decline. What this means is individuals are at a higher risk of developing dementia. Hearing loss has far greater effects than a sensory impairment.
Our hearing health can affect both psychological and physical health. While hearing loss affects the ability to hear, it also can change our brain. Our hearing plays a big role in keeping our memory sharp. We unintentionally overload our brain due to HL, that is when we begin to struggle to understand speech/sound causing our brain to not work effectively. The brain is the center of control and should be taken seriously.
In a recent study, statistics show that older adults with HL have shown 30-40 percent accelerated cognitive dysfunction.
Gradual hearing loss is a common symptom of aging. Hearing loss can appear at any age or time depending on your lifestyle and environment. It can range from serving in the military near explosives or simply living in a noisier than average city. Naturally, cognitive decline may begin after midlife but in most cases it begins around the age of 70. Hearing loss effects two-thirds of adults over the age of 70. Those with moderate to severe hearing loss are said to be 5 times more likely to develop dementia.
We should all be aware of the importance of hearing loss and take preventative measures.
There are many risk factors of cognitive decline. Adults with untreated hearing loss are said to have an increase in stress, social isolation, depression, and poor relationships (family/spouse/friends). Many individuals will not feel comfortable socializing or having a conversation which causes most individuals to isolate themselves. This leads to lack of stimuli the more isolated the individual is. Most importantly your quality of life becomes jeopardized. It becomes a “domino effect”. Prolonged social isolation will lead to depression which then causes changes to the brain and memory loss. The brain structure will change and cause brain cells to shrink because of the lack of stimulation. Studies now show hearing loss has a larger proportion linked to dementia than obesity, diabetes, and even smoking.
Early detection may give you better quality of life. Effective intervention such as hearing aids or cochlear implants can be the help you need to improve your social relationships. It may also improve your communication and emotional/cognitive function. Studies show individuals who receive hearing aids or cochlear implants treatment show significant benefit from them. The main goal is to save your residual hearing and amplify gain for a better quality of life. With more amplification, the hearing aid will help process the sounds making it easy for the brain to fully understand.
Many more benefits will come along as well as you become accustomed to the device. Other benefits include improved memory, focus, and attention.
If hearing loss goes untreated, there can be serious consequences to our mental health. It will cause social withdrawal and as social human beings we do not do so well isolated. To decrease the chances of cognitive decline we must understand that hearing health is very crucial to our overall health. This is why taking preventative measures such as regular hearing screenings along with hearing protection when in loud environments is very important. If you notice the slightest change in your hearing, it will benefit you to go see a professional.
The good news is more studies are being done. Now we have a better understanding of HL and its link to cognitive decline so that we can take preventative measures. We should listen to the experts and keep both our brains and body as healthy as possible. This allows us to stay mentally stimulated. It is important to stay connected to our friends, family and businesses to continue to have a stimulated brain. Most importantly if you notice a change in your hearing, make an appointment with your audiologist. Lastly, if you do have hearing loss it is in your best interest to get a hearing aid or any form of amplification to reduce your chances of cognitive decline. Always remember, health is wealth.
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