Want to suck all the fun out of your next family get-together? Start to talk about dementia.
The subject of dementia can be very scary and most individuals aren’t going to purposely talk about it. Dementia, which is a degenerative cognitive disease, causes you to lose touch with reality, experience memory loss, and brings about an over-all loss of mental function. It’s not something anyone looks forward to.
This is why many individuals are looking for a way to counter, or at least delay, the advancement of dementia. It turns out, untreated hearing loss and dementia have some fairly clear connections and correlations.>
You might be surprised by that. After all, what does your brain have to do with your ears (lots, actually)? Why does hearing loss raise chances of dementia?>
When you neglect hearing loss, what are the consequences?
Maybe you’ve noticed your hearing loss already, but you’re not that concerned about it. It’s nothing that cranking up the volume on your tv won’t fix, right? Maybe you’ll just put on the captions when you’re watching your favorite show.
Or perhaps your hearing loss has gone unobserved so far. Maybe the signs are still easy to dismiss. Cognitive decline and hearing loss are strongly connected either way. That could have something to do with what happens when you have untreated hearing loss.
- Conversation becomes harder to understand. As a result, you may start to isolate yourself socially. You may become distant from loved ones and friends. You won’t talk with others as much. It’s bad for your brain to isolate yourself this way. And naturally your social life. Additionally, many individuals who experience hearing loss-related social isolation don’t even recognize it’s happening, and they most likely won’t attribute their isolation to their hearing.
- Your brain will start to work much harder. Your ears will get less audio information when you have untreated hearing loss. This will leave your brain filling in the missing info. This will really exhaust your brain. Your brain will then have to get extra power from your memory and thought centers (at least that’s the current concept). The thinking is that over time this leads to dementia (or, at least, helps it along). Your brain working so hard can also cause all manner of other symptoms, such as mental fatigue and tiredness.
So your hearing loss isn’t quite as innocuous as you may have believed.
One of the major indicators of dementia is hearing loss
Let’s say you only have mild hearing impairment. Whispers might get lost, but you can hear everything else so…no big deal right? Well, turns out you’re still two times as likely to develop dementia as someone who does not have hearing loss.
So one of the preliminary indications of dementia can be even mild hearing loss.
Now… What does that mean?
Well, it’s essential to remember that we’re dealing with risk here. Hearing loss isn’t a guarantee of cognitive decline or even an early symptom of dementia. Rather, it simply means you have a higher chance of developing dementia or going through cognitive decline later in life. But that might actually be good news.
Your risk of cognitive decline is decreased by successfully dealing with your hearing loss. So how do you manage your hearing loss? Here are several ways:
- If your hearing loss is caught early, there are certain measures you can take to safeguard your hearing. You could, for instance, wear hearing protection if you work in a noisy setting and steer clear of noisy events like concerts or sporting events.
- The impact of hearing loss can be decreased by using hearing aids. Now, can hearing aids prevent dementia? That’s tough to say, but hearing aids can improve 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 involved. Research suggests that treating hearing loss can help minimize your danger of developing dementia when you get older. That isn’t the same as preventing dementia, but it’s a good thing nonetheless.
- Come see us so we can help you determine any hearing loss you may have.
Lowering your risk of dementia – other methods
You can minimize your risk of cognitive decline by doing some other things as well, of course. This could include:
- Make sure you get enough sleep every night. There are studies that link fewer than four hours of sleep every night to an increase in the risk of dementia.
- Exercise is needed for good general health including hearing health.
- Stop smoking. Seriously. It just makes everything worse, including your risk of developing dementia (this list also includes drinking too much alcohol).
- 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 take medication to lower it.
The connection between lifestyle, hearing loss, and dementia is still being examined by scientists. It’s a complicated disease with an array of causes. But any way you can decrease your risk is good.
Being able to hear is its own advantage
So, hearing better will help reduce your general risk of developing dementia down the line. You’ll be bettering your life now, not only 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, perhaps in the form of a hearing aid, can help considerably.
So call us today for an appointment.