Your Danger of Developing Dementia Could be Decreased by Having Routine Hearing Tests

Wooden brain puzzle representing mental decline due to hearing loss.

Dementia and hearing loss, what’s the link? Medical science has connected the dots between brain health and hearing loss. It was discovered that even mild untreated hearing loss raises your risk of developing dementia.

Scientists think that there might be a pathological connection between these two seemingly unrelated health problems. So, how does hearing loss put you in danger of dementia and how can a hearing exam help combat it?

Dementia, what is it?

Dementia is a condition that diminishes memory ability, clear thinking, and socialization skills, as reported by the Mayo Clinic. Individuals tend to think of Alzheimer’s disease when they hear dementia probably because it is a common form. Around five million people in the US are affected by this progressive type of dementia. Exactly how hearing health effects the risk of dementia is finally well grasped by scientists.

How hearing works

The ear mechanisms are extremely intricate and each one matters in relation to good hearing. As waves of sound vibration travel towards the inner ear, they get amplified. Inside the labyrinth of the inner ear, tiny hair cells vibrate in response to the sound waves to send electrical impulses that the brain translates.

Over the years these little hairs can become permanently damaged from exposure to loud noise. The result is a reduction in the electrical signals to the brain that makes it difficult to comprehend sound.

Research suggests that this gradual loss of hearing isn’t only an inconsequential part of aging. Whether the impulses are unclear and garbled, the brain will attempt to decipher them anyway. That effort puts strain on the ear, making the individual struggling to hear more susceptible to developing dementia.

Loss of hearing is a risk factor for lots of diseases that result in:

  • Depression
  • Reduction in alertness
  • Inability to master new tasks
  • Weak overall health
  • Exhaustion
  • Irritability
  • Impaired memory

The risk of developing dementia can increase depending on the severity of your hearing loss, too. Even minor hearing loss can double the danger of cognitive decline. Hearing loss that is more significant will raise the risk by three times and very severe neglected hearing loss can put you at up to a five times higher danger. The cognitive skills of over 2,000 older adults were studied by Johns Hopkins University over six years. Cognitive and memory issues are 24 percent more likely in individuals who have hearing loss significant enough to disrupt conversation, according to this study.

Why is a hearing test important?

Hearing loss affects the general health and that would most likely surprise many individuals. Most individuals don’t even recognize they have hearing loss because it progresses so slowly. As hearing declines, the human brain adapts gradually so it makes it less noticeable.

We will be able to effectively assess your hearing health and track any changes as they occur with routine hearing exams.

Decreasing the risk with hearing aids

The current hypothesis is that stress on the brain from hearing loss plays a significant role in cognitive decline and different kinds of dementia. So hearing aids should be capable of decreasing the risk, based on that fact. The stress on your brain will be decreased by using a hearing aid to filter out unwanted background noise while boosting sounds you want to hear. The sounds that you’re hearing will get through without as much effort.

There’s no rule that says individuals with normal hearing won’t end up with dementia. But scientists think hearing loss accelerates that decline. The key to reducing that risk is routine hearing exams to diagnose and treat gradual hearing loss before it can have an affect on brain health.

If you’re worried that you may be dealing with hearing loss, call us today to schedule your hearing evaluation.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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