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Cognitive Decline & Correlation With Hearing Loss
Posted by The Center for Better Hearing on April 16, 2018
Dementia is a general term for cognitive decline. Memory loss is one of this condition’s greatest side effects, which is why Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia. Adults with hearing loss are more likely to develop problems thinking and remembering than adults whose hearing is normal. Degraded hearing may force the brain to devote too much of its energy in processing sound. When the brain can only focus on trying to hear, there is less energy being put into retaining information and forming memories.
- Adults with mild loss are 2X more likely to develop dementia
- Adults with moderate loss are 3X more likely to develop dementia
- Adults with severe loss are 4X more likely to develop dementia
Research suggests that untreated hearing loss can accelerate the progression of dementia. When you can’t hear, you have a natural tendency to become socially withdrawn, participate in conversations less and experience an increase in mental stress. Dementia is predicted to nearly double in prevalence every 20 years. When parts of the brain aren’t receiving enough stimulation as we find with hearing loss, it can affect its ability to function.
So, what can you do in terms of hearing health to safeguard against dementia?
Treating hearing loss with hearing aids can delay the onset of dementia. Advanced hearing aid technology not only enhances and amplifies sound, it also makes it easier for the brain to process communication and make sense of sound in the environment, improve ease of listening and lightens the cognitive load of information.
The benefits of hearing aids should be assessed by an Audiologist
There is no benefit in waiting to treat a hearing loss. Adults with hearing loss develop a significant impairment in their cognitive abilities, 3.2 years sooner than those with normal hearing. Don’t dismiss your hearing as a minor part of your overall health. Act when identified and stay smart as long as you can.