In honor of June being Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, we are working to bring awareness to the connection between untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline of the brain. The exact reason for the link between hearing loss and dementia has been inconclusive in studies. However, it is important to explain that the reason why there is any connection at all is because we actually hear with our brains. We use auditory processing to decode the messages from our ears.
Uncovering the Connection between Hearing Loss and Dementia
There are ongoing studies surrounding cognitive issues (like Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia) and the connection to hearing loss. Anyone who has been touched by any of these types of cognitive issues knows the dire need for a cure or at least treatment. The key to the puzzle lies somewhere in the strain that is put on the brain when it is trying to decode sounds that aren’t properly heard over time. Another connection is that hearing loss often causes social isolation, which is a known risk factor for dementia and other cognitive disorders. Johns Hopkins research along with the National Institute on Aging recently uncovered yet another connection: the shrinking of the brain that happens normally with age seems to be fast-tracked in older adults with hearing loss.
Hearing Aids Can Help
It is important to note that researchers believe it is not the actual presence of hearing loss that causes the cognitive decline, and therefore hearing aids can help. Hearing loss most often develops slowly, over time. Just as that gradual loss makes it difficult for us to notice the loss, our brain’s ability to compensate also increases with time. However, catching hearing loss early on and treating it can help slow or stop its progression. That also can help lessen the burden hearing loss puts on the brain. As you can see, that makes annual hearing screenings even more important because not just your hearing could be on the line. Experts suggest that a baseline hearing exam should be done as early on as 45 with yearly checkups to monitor changes.
You Can Rely on the Experts at Anderson Audiology
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At Anderson Audiology, we are always here to help you through all aspects of your hearing health. If you have any questions about hearing loss or hearing aids, please contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our hearing professionals today.