It has long been accepted that hearing loss is a natural part of aging. In fact, this condition is experienced by over two thirds of Americans over the age of 70. However, recent studies show that hearing loss is associated with brain health as well.
People who suffer from hearing loss are 2 to 5 times more likely to develop dementia as they age. There isn’t a very clear reason why hearing loss and dementia are linked, but there is one theory that suggests loss of hearing leads to withdrawal and less participation in conversations. It is due to this lack of human interaction that the brain does not receive the stimulus it requires to function normally. This can eventually lead to dementia. While this sounds scary, there is still hope.
How Treating Hearing Loss Helps Prevent Dementia
Struggling to keep up with conversations and asking people to repeat themselves over and over indicates that it is time to visit an ear specialist. This is just the first sign of hearing loss. It is usually accompanied by the constant need to listen to loud music or turning the volume up when watching TV. The sooner you are diagnosed for hearing loss, the sooner it can be remedied.
Many people tend to wait for the more obvious signs to show up before visiting a hearing diagnostic care center. This is ill-advised, especially for people over the age of 50 or those who are constantly exposed to loud noises at work or at home. The longer the hearing problem persists, the harder it is to fix.
No Shame in Hearing Aids
The main reason why people are hesitant to visit a diagnostic clinic for a hearing test is that there is a stigma against hearing aids. Mainly because hearing loss is associated with aging, people do not want to admit that they are “getting old”. It should be clear to anyone who needs a hearing aid that there is no shame in using them.
Slowing Down Dementia Even with Hear Loss
Understandably, the acceptance of hearing aids will not happen overnight. Here are other ways to lessen the chances of getting dementia, even when you are already showing signs of hearing loss:
Keep the mind active – It has been proven that maintaining at least an 8th-grade literacy and reading level will help the mind stay active. Make it a practice to read a book or two on a regular basis in order to stimulate the brain.
Stay social – The best way to prevent brain health deterioration is to stay social and to hold conversations with people regularly. If you are engaging with someone, your brain is still getting enough stimuli to function well.
Regular Exercise – Engaging in regular cardiovascular activities like a daily 30-minute brisk walk keeps the heart rate up. This will also keep blood flow to the brain steady and help you sustain your overall health.
Keeping your mind and body fit and healthy is the best way to avoid dementia. If you are suffering from any hearing problems, it is best to get it diagnosed as early as possible. Visit a hearing diagnostic center today.
Hearing Loss and Dementia, Hear-It.org
Hearing Loss Linked to Dementia, AARP.org