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Seeking Hearing Loss Treatment Could Help Prevent or Delay Dementia

Peter Lucier, HIS

Hearing loss can be a normal part of aging. Approximately half of seniors over the age of 75 have some level of hearing loss. But just because hearing loss is common doesn’t mean we should ignore it. Living with untreated hearing loss is linked to a number of negative health outcomes, including an increased risk of social isolation, depression, and even dementia. Seeking hearing loss treatment when you first notice changes to your hearing health could help prevent or delay dementia. 

Hearing Loss and Your Health

When you first notice changes in your hearing, it’s easy to think it’s not a big deal. You only miss a few sounds here and there, and you can still hear most of what people are saying. However, the longer you put off treating your hearing loss the worse your hearing becomes. When you live with untreated hearing loss, you’ll soon struggle to follow conversations, hear on the phone, and connect with your loved ones. 

Hearing loss is linked to higher reported rates of loneliness, social isolation, stress, anxiety, and depression among older adults. This is because hearing loss makes it harder to understand speech, both at home and at social events like a dinner with your friends. You may feel embarrassed asking people to repeat themselves, or feel uncomfortable when you mishear what’s been said. As your hearing loss gets worse, you are more likely to stay home, feel isolated, and even notice changes in your cognitive function. 

Hearing Loss Can Lead to Dementia

As you live with untreated hearing loss, you’ll start to notice changes in your ears and in your brain. Hearing loss is caused by damage to the cells in your inner ear. As these cells are damaged or die, they can’t send signals to your brain about the sounds around you. After a while, the auditory regions of your brain start to change. Researchers have found that people with hearing loss have less gray matter in their brains. Hearing loss can lead to rapid cognitive decline as well as physical changes in the brain. 

Treating Hearing Can Help Prevent or Delay Dementia

When you have untreated hearing loss, you spend all your day straining to hear. Your energy and attention will go into hearing, but you still can’t quite make out what’s being said or what’s happening around you. This can lead to listening fatigue and overall exhaustion. People with untreated hearing loss have a hard time concentrating on tasks, planning ahead, and remembering details. 

That’s why treating hearing loss is so important. When you treat your hearing loss, you can follow conversations without using all your energy to hear. You’ll be able to use your energy to focus on the meaning of what’s being said, concentrate on what you’re doing, and easily recall details. Treating hearing loss can help prevent or delay dementia by slowing this cognitive decline.

How Hearing Aids Work

Hearing aids are designed to help you hear clearly. They’re calibrated to your unique hearing loss, so they’ll help you hear all the sounds you’ve been straining to hear. You’ll be able to enjoy talking with your family and friends, stay more active, and even pick up a new hobby or learn a new skill. You’ll enjoy going to events, getting dinner with your friends, and being more social. These activities strengthen your brain, slow cognitive decline, and can prevent or delay dementia. 

How to Find the Right Hearing Aids

Are you ready to treat your hearing loss, and prevent or delay dementia? Start with a comprehensive hearing test to learn more about which sounds you can’t hear. Then, look for hearing aids that will match your lifestyle as well as your hearing needs. Whether you have a hard time hearing the TV, can’t follow conversations at a restaurant, or need a bit of help hearing at work, there are hearing aids designed for your needs. 

Our practice offers a wide selection of quality hearing aids that can help you hear clearly. Explore your options and think about the features you want, such as speech enhancement, tinnitus therapy, or connectivity with your smartphone. Finding the right hearing aids can keep your brain active and healthy and prevent or delay dementia.

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