Want to take all the joy out of your next family get-together? Start to talk about dementia.
Dementia isn’t a topic most people are intentionally looking to discuss, mostly because it’s pretty scary. Dementia, which is a degenerative cognitive condition, causes you to lose touch with reality, experience loss of memory, and brings about a general loss of mental faculties. Nobody wants to go through that.
For this reason, many individuals are looking for a way to prevent, or at least slow, the advancement of dementia. It turns out, untreated hearing loss and dementia have several pretty clear connections and correlations.>
That might seem a bit… surprising to you. What does your brain have to do with your ears after all? Why does hearing loss raise the risk of dementia?>
When you ignore hearing loss, what are the repercussions?
Maybe you’ve detected your hearing loss already, but you’re not that concerned about it. You can simply crank up the volume, right? Maybe you’ll simply turn on the captions when you’re watching your favorite program.
Or perhaps your hearing loss has gone unnoticed so far. Perhaps the signs are still easy to dismiss. In either case, hearing loss and mental decline have a strong connection. That’s because of the effects of untreated hearing loss.
- It becomes harder to understand conversations. Consequently, you may start to isolate yourself socially. You might become distant from loved ones and friends. You won’t talk with people as often. This type of social isolation is, well, bad for your brain. Not to mention your social life. What’s more, many individuals who experience hearing loss-related social isolation don’t even realize it’s happening, and they probably won’t attribute their solitude to their hearing.
- Your brain will begin 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 is incredibly taxing. The current theory is, when this occurs, your brain pulls power from your thinking and memory centers. It’s thought that this might speed up the onset of dementia. Your brain working so hard can also result in all manner of other symptoms, such as mental stress and tiredness.
You might have thought that your hearing loss was more innocuous than it actually is.
One of the major signs of dementia is hearing loss
Maybe your hearing loss is mild. Like, you can’t hear whispers, but everything else is just fine. Well, even with that, your risk of getting dementia is doubled.
So one of the initial signs of dementia can be even minor 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 experiencing cognitive decline later in life. But that might actually be good news.
Your risk of cognitive decline is lowered by successfully dealing with your hearing loss. So how can hearing loss be controlled? There are a number of ways:
- Set up an appointment with us to identify your present hearing loss.
- Using a hearing aid can help decrease the affect of hearing loss. So, can dementia be stopped by wearing hearing aids? That’s not an easy question to answer, but we recognize that brain function can be enhanced by using hearing aids. This is the reason why: You’ll be capable of participating in more conversations, your brain won’t have to work so hard, and you’ll be a bit more socially connected. Your chance of developing dementia later in life is reduced by managing hearing loss, research implies. That isn’t the same as stopping dementia, but it’s a good thing nonetheless.
- You can take some steps to safeguard your hearing from further damage if you catch your hearing loss soon enough. You could, for instance, wear ear protection if you work in a noisy environment and avoid noisy events like concerts or sporting events.
Lowering your risk of dementia – other strategies
You can reduce your chance of cognitive decline by doing some other things as well, of course. This could include:
- Be sure you get enough sleep every night. There are studies that link less than four hours of sleep per night to a higher risk of dementia.
- Get some exercise.
- Eating a healthy diet, especially one that helps you keep your blood pressure from going too high. Sometimes, medication can help here, some people simply have naturally higher blood pressure; those individuals may need medication sooner than later.
- Don’t smoke. Seriously. It just makes everything bad, including your chance of developing cognitive decline (excessive alcohol drinking can also go on this list).
Of course, scientists are still studying the connection between dementia, hearing loss, lifestyle, and more. There are so many causes that make this disease so complex. But the lower your risk, the better.
Being able to hear is its own advantage
So, over time, hearing better will reduce your general risk of cognitive decline. But it isn’t just your future golden years you’ll be improving, it’s now. Imagine, no more solitary visits to the store, no more confused conversations, no more misunderstandings.
Losing out on the important things in life is no fun. And a small amount of hearing loss management, possibly in the form of a hearing aid, can help significantly.
So call us today for an appointment.