Many people expect to experience hearing loss as we age: it happens to everyone, right? Hearing loss is not normally considered a major health issue when aging, but what if hearing loss causes other, serious issues such as Alzheimer’s and dementia? Studies have found links between hearing loss, communication difficulties, and mental decline. This makes hearing issues a bigger problem than once thought.
One study that included 600 people showed a direct correlation between hearing loss and dementia: indicating that people with hearing loss were more likely to experience mental decline than those without it. Another study involving more than 2000 people discovered that people experiencing hearing loss showed a 30-40% faster cognitive decline than those who did not. They also found that people who had more severe hearing loss were more likely to develop dementia than those with less severe hearing difficulties. Further testing revealed that brain atrophy accelerates more quickly in the brains of those with hearing impairment when compared to those without it. Study participants that were at least 60 years old had a 36% increased risk of dementia when hearing loss was a factor.
Other side effects of hearing issues, such as difficulty communicating, isolation from social environments, diminished memory, irritability, anxiety, reduced awareness, depression and failure to learn new tasks contribute further to mental decline overall. Hearing aids and other devices are currently being included in studies to see how they can mitigate this mental deterioration.
Hearing loss is often a very slow and gradual process, so that we don’t always notice it until it has developed to a more serious degree. For this reason, annual hearing screenings are vital to be aware of any changes and know all of your options for halting any decline in hearing or mental faculties as early as possible..
The first step to improving your listening skills is to recognize the issue. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a strategy to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.