By The Jackson Hearing Center
So you don’t want to wear a hearing aid? We wish no one needed a hearing aid; however, hearing loss is real and the downside to avoiding hearing aids is real too. Not only do hearing aids help you to hear better, but a number of studies have come to light over the last few years showing a link between hearing loss and cognitive decline, such as dementia. Just as with any other health issues, the earlier you are diagnosed and treated for hearing loss, the better off you will be.
Hearing loss of any degree can have an effect on your ability to communicate with others. Even the mildest of hearing losses should be given attention.
Left untreated, hearing loss can lead to isolation, depression, and strained relationships with family and friends. Improving your quality of life through better hearing can positively affect these and other areas of your overall health and well-being.
RISK OF DEMENTIA WITH UNTREATED
A pair of studies from Johns Hopkins found that hearing loss is associated with accelerated cognitive decline in older adults and that seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing. A third Johns Hopkins study revealed a link between hearing loss and accelerated brain tissue loss. The researchers found that for older adults with hearing loss, brain tissue loss happens faster than it does for those with normal hearing.
Dr. Arthur Wingfield, Professor of Neuroscience at Brandeis University, has been studying cognitive aging and the relationship between memory and hearing acuity. He reports untreated hearing loss not only affects the listener’s ability to “hear” sound accurately, but also higher-level cognitive functioning. “The sharpness of an individual’s hearing has cascading consequences for various aspects of cognitive function,” said Wingfield. “We’re only just beginning to understand how far-reaching these consequences are.” Cognitive functioning refers to a variety of mental processes used in gaining knowledge and comprehension including attention, memory, understanding language, learning, reasoning, problem solving and decision making. When people experience cognitive decline, they may have problems with remembering, language, thinking and judgement.
Untreated hearing loss often mimics that of cognitive decline, and again, as the studies have shown, has been proven to contribute to it as well. With hearing loss, your brain doesn’t receive the sound information it needs to understand what is being said and expends more energy trying to fill in the blanks. Conversations become difficult and exhausting when you have a hearing loss. However, the mental give-and-take of these social interactions helps keep your brain mentally fit!
Often times your family or friends are the first to notice symptoms of hearing loss. Those symptoms may include you having difficulty understanding what is being said or avoiding situations you once enjoyed—like conversations, talking on the telephone, family gatherings, holidays or other events. These listening situations can be made much easier by wearing a discreet and incredibly helpful hearing aid.
There are many different styles of hearing aids, as well as manufacturers. There is not one hearing aid that works for everybody. It is important that you are provided the best hearing aid for your hearing loss, lifestyle, and budget. A properly fitted hearing aid will help you:
• have a better relationship with your family
• feel better about yourself
• improve your mental and physical well-being
• concentrate better
• feel more independent and secure
• feel less tired or exhausted
• be more able to participate in social gatherings
• be able to increase your social contacts
If you have a hearing loss, it is best to take it seriously and treat it! Don’t wait to keep your brain Mentally Fit! For more information or to schedule your FREE HEARING SCREENING and consultation, contact The Jackson Hearing Center at 731-660-5511.