Many people believe that hearing loss is an expected consequence of aging.
Hearing loss is not usually viewed as a significant health issue, though it may involve inconvenience or difficulty communicating.
Recent studies, however, are revealing that there may be more to hearing loss than just minor inconvenience. These studies have linked hearing loss with incidences of dementia and mental decline, which makes it more of a concern than before.
A study with over 2000 participants found that hearing loss sufferers may have as much as a 30-40% reduction in cognitive abilities compared to those without hearing loss. Another study following 600 people concluded that people with hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia than people without it. They also discovered that a higher risk of dementia was correlated with more serious hearing impairment with than mild or moderate hearing loss. Further analysis has confirmed that hearing impairment accelerates brain atrophy, which in turn speeds up mental decline.
When hearing loss is a component, symptoms of dementia like reduced alertness, inability to learn new things, memory loss, irritability, depression, lethargy, and nervousness may also get worse.
We know that mental decline can result in weakened health overall, and researchers are now trying to understand the role of hearing devices in slowing mental deterioration.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to ensure you and your loved ones are protected from dementia and cognitive decline resulting from hearing loss.
The easiest thing to do is keep annual hearing screening appointments. Yearly hearing exams are critical because hearing loss is very gradual, and it is difficult to detect a decline until it has advanced quite a bit. Once damage has occurred it cannot be reversed, so prevention and early detection are key.
If you suspect hearing loss or damage, make sure to consult your audiologist immediately to assess the situation and slow or halt its progression.
Remember that the first step to halting hearing loss and preventing further damage is to recognize your situation. Come in today for a hearing screening and formulate a strategy to train your brain to listen actively and effectively.
Diablo Hearing Services 2301 Camino Ramon, STE 106 San Ramon (925) 394-4646