Hearing Loss Linked To Dementia
Can Getting A Hearing Aid Help Prevent Memory Loss and Increase Cognitive Functioning?
The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Cognitive Functioning
Written by: Katherine Griffin
Hearing loss research shows that having a hearing impairment is linked to other health conditions and hearing loss even has a negative effect on mental health. Recent research is now linking hearing loss and dementia. There are many ways that hearing loss can lead to dementia, but the best-supported theory is that when the brain has to spend a lot of energy trying to understand what other people are saying, it has less energy for processing information and storing it into long-term memory. The overall effect of stressing the brain in this way over the years is a cognitive decline or dementia.
Use it or Lose it
Another important factor is believed to be social isolation. Hearing loss studies have often noted that hearing impaired individuals tend to avoid social interaction because of the extra effort they must make to understand speech, which makes them both more easily tired and frequently embarrassed. Years of social withdrawal causes the brain to lose resilience because key areas of the brain are not being called upon to work as they would when a person has active social interactions.
What dementia can do:
- Cause poor judgment
- Make decision-making more difficult
- Cause disorientation
- Shorten the attention span
- Make it hard to recognize familiar faces or use of objects
Hearing Technology Improves Hearing and Brain Function
The good news is patients who were provided with hearing aids or cochlear implants in these studies showed an improvement in brain function, and sometimes the improvements were dramatic. No matter what the causes of hearing loss, it’s never too late to treat it and improve both the ability to hear and the brain’s ability to function well. If you treat hearing loss early you can prevent memory loss and other mental challenges.
Make an appointment with us today and find out what we can do to help you hear better. Your overall health is our primary concern.
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