Dementia involves the loss of one’s cognitive functionality. A person who suffers from dementia will have impairments in their ability to think, speak, and reason. They may suffer from marked memory loss and will struggle to even perform the most mundane of activities. If someone suffering from a dementia problem then it is important to immediately search assistance for someone with dementia.
There is a connection between hearing loss and dementia. That is, patients who suffer from hearing loss are at an increased risk of developing dementia.
This is because hearing loss actually forces your brain to work even harder than usual. The brain will need to work faster in order to try and compensate for the hearing impairment. It will strain to fill in the gaps so that you can keep up during a conversation.
Unfortunately, other parts of the brain will suffer as a result, such as memory and information processing. The end result is that the brain will actually shrink quicker due to hearing loss.
In addition to increasing the risk of dementia, hearing loss has been linked to depression, social isolation, and an increase in the risk of accidents, such as falls. Here, we will delve deeper into the connection between hearing loss and dementia and what you can do about it.
How does dementia affect hearing?
People who suffer from hearing loss may feel ostracized from their community. They may avoid conversations and interacting with others in order to avoid embarrassment. As a result, their mental decline may actually be accelerated when compared to those with good hearing.
The brain needs to be stimulated in order to remain sharp, focused and fully functional. Depression and social isolation will hasten one’s cognitive decline unless the patient obtains the treatment that they need.
If you suffer from pronounced hearing loss, then your brain will be forced to work harder than usual in order to process sounds. When this happens, certain resources in the brain will need to be expended.
The resources in your brain are finite and are designed to be used for certain tasks. Optimal brain functionality can only be maintained when all components are fully operational. For example, the hearing nerves of a hearing-impaired patient will send fewer signals to the brain.
The end result is that their brain will suffer from the lack of signals. As can be seen, there is a clear and definitive correlation between hearing loss and dementia in the elderly.
What can be done to lower your chances of hearing loss?
Try to avoid loud noises whenever possible. Loud activities and events can be entertaining, but they may adversely impact your hearing. In some cases, the impact may be temporary. However, prolonged exposure to loud noises can permanently damage your hearing.
If you notice ringing in your ears, are having trouble hearing those around you, or need to raise your own voice in order to make yourself heard, then your immediate environment is too loud. Ear pain is another telltale sign that you need to exit the premises.
You should also avoid playing your music too loud while wearing headphones. Simply install a smartphone app on your phone in order to help measure noise levels. Any sound that exceeds 85 decibels is considered hazardous to one’s hearing.
For example, a conversation will generate roughly 60 decibels, meaning your hearing will not be affected. However, a plane taking off will generate 120 decibels, which can harm your ears, and listening to music on your phone at full volume may reach 110 decibels.
You should also take safety precautions while at work. By law, your employer is required to make certain changes in order to reduce your exposure to loud sounds. Wear earplugs or earmuffs while you are working.
Moreover, you should try to switch to equipment that generates less noise if possible. It is also imperative that you get your hearing tested on a regular basis. You should get your hearing examined at least once a year, especially if you work in a noisy environment.
A hearing test helps diagnose, treat, and even prevent many hearing disorders.
How Hearing Aids Can Help Prevent Memory Loss
Memory loss and hearing loss are often connected. A patient who suffers from hearing loss will need their brain to work extra hard in order to amplify and translate incoming sounds.
The data seems to suggest that hearing aids can help prevent memory loss and reduce the onset of dementia. Hearing aids are designed to restore auditory input. By doing so, the patient’s quality of life is drastically improved.
They will be less likely to be socially isolated and depressed by being able to engage normally in conversations with friends and family. Their mood will be elevated, their brains will be adequately stimulated, and their cognitive function will be maintained.
By helping them keep their minds sharp and focused, memory loss will not be as pronounced. Brain shrinkage, which is a normal part of the aging process, will also not be as rapid when the patient has the proper hearing aids.
Preventive Medicine is Key
Once dementia hits, it can be hard to combat. There is no cure for dementia. Certain treatments may be used to prolong the inevitable, but preventive medicine is the best course of action. Routine testing will quickly diagnose and treat hearing problems while they are still minor.
Hearing aids are a safe, effective, comfortable, discrete, and affordable treatment modality that is commonly used to help restore hearing functionality in the hearing impaired.
Being able to hear and engage in social conversations will also lower depression and help keep the mind strong and stimulated. As such, hearing aids can reduce memory loss, brain shrinkage, and slow down the rate of cognitive decline in patients.
If you suspect that you, or someone you love, might be suffering from hearing loss, please make an appointment with a local clinic. An audiologist will perform the necessary testing in order to determine the source of your hearing loss in order to treat it.