If you begin talking about dementia at your next family get-together, you will most likely put a dark cloud above the whole event.
The subject of dementia can be very frightening and most individuals aren’t going to purposely discuss it. Dementia, which is a degenerative cognitive disease, makes you lose a grip on reality, experience loss of memory, and causes an over-all loss of mental faculties. No one wants to go through that.
So stopping or at least slowing dementia is a priority for many people. It turns out, untreated hearing loss and dementia have some pretty clear connections and correlations.>
You might be surprised by that. What does your brain have to do with your ears after all? Why are the risks of dementia increased with hearing loss?>
What happens when your hearing impairment is neglected?
You realize that you’re starting to lose your hearing, but it isn’t at the top of your list of concerns. It’s nothing that cranking up the volume on your television won’t solve, right? Maybe you’ll simply turn on the captions when you’re watching your favorite program.
Or maybe your hearing loss has gone undetected so far. Maybe the signs are still easy to disregard. In either case, hearing loss and cognitive decline have a powerful connection. That might have something to do with what occurs when you have untreated hearing loss.
- Conversation becomes more difficult to understand. As a result, you may begin isolating yourself socially. You can withdraw from friends, family, and loved ones. You won’t talk with people as often. It’s not good for your brain to separate yourself this way. And naturally your social life. Further, most people who have this kind of isolation won’t even know that hearing loss is the cause.
- Your brain will be working harder. Your ears will collect less audio information when you have untreated hearing loss. Because of this, your brain will attempt to fill in the gaps. This is unbelievably taxing. Your brain will then have to get extra power from your memory and thinking centers (at least that’s the current concept). It’s thought that this could speed up the onset of dementia. Your brain working so hard can also cause all manner of other symptoms, like mental fatigue and tiredness.
You might have suspected 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. Like, you can’t hear whispers, but everything else sounds just fine. Well, even with that, your risk of developing dementia is doubled.
So one of the preliminary indications of dementia can be even mild hearing loss.
Now… What does that mean?
We’re considering 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 higher risk of developing cognitive decline. But that could actually be good news.
Your risk of dementia is lowered by effectively dealing with your hearing loss. So how can you manage your hearing loss? Here are several ways:
- The affect of hearing loss can be decreased by wearing hearing aids. Now, can hearing aids prevent cognitive decline? That’s hard to say, but hearing aids can enhance brain function. Here’s why: You’ll be capable of participating in more conversations, your brain won’t need to work so hard, and you’ll be a little more socially connected. Your risk of developing dementia in the future is reduced by managing hearing loss, research implies. It won’t prevent dementia but we can still call it a win.
- Come see us so we can help you diagnose any hearing loss you might have.
- You can take some measures to protect your hearing from further harm if you catch your hearing loss early enough. For example, you could avoid noisy events (such as concerts or sports games) or wear hearing protection when you’re near anything loud (for example, if you work with heavy machinery).
Lowering your risk of dementia – other methods
Of course, there are other things you can do to decrease your risk of cognitive decline, too. This could include:
- A diet that keeps your blood pressure down and is generally healthy can go a long way. For people who naturally have higher blood pressure, it may be necessary to use medication to lower it.
- Stop smoking. Seriously. It just makes everything worse, and that includes your chance of developing cognitive decline (this list also includes excessive alcohol use).
- Getting adequate sleep at night is essential. Some studies have linked an increased risk of dementia to getting less than four hours of sleep per night.
- Get some exercise.
The connection between lifestyle, hearing loss, and dementia is still being examined by scientists. There are so many causes that make this disease so complicated. But the lower your risk, the better.
Hearing is its own benefit
So, hearing better will help decrease your overall risk of developing cognitive decline down the line. You’ll be bettering your life now, not just in the future. Imagine, no more missed conversations, no more garbled misunderstandings, no more quiet and lonely visits to the grocery store.
It’s no fun missing out on life’s important moments. And a small amount of hearing loss management, maybe in the form of a hearing aid, can help considerably.
So make sure to schedule an appointment with us today!