Hearing loss is a condition that is predominantly experienced as a result of old age. Lifelong exposure to loud noises, coupled with a decrease in senses can result in hearing loss. In fact, it is the third most common health condition that affects older adults. And in fact, it has been identified as a big risk factor for dementia. Why is this?

What does the evidence say?

There have been a wide variety of studies conducted. They suggest that mild hearing loss is suggested to increase the risk of dementia two-fold, and other studies have shown that the rate of cognitive decline is further accelerated in patients experiencing dementia alongside hearing loss. 

A study that followed over 1,000 participants over 24 years conducted by the Rancho Bernardo Study of Healthy Aging found that hearing impairment was associated with accelerated age-related decline. Hearing loss may increase cognitive decline because there are fewer auditory centers. Put simply, if the brain doesn't receive stimulation in specific areas, such as the auditory centers, it doesn't use it as much. 

What does this mean for me?

Treating your hearing loss can be helpful for the brain. A study conducted by the University of Manchester over 20 years involving 2,000 people discovered that managing hearing loss can reduce dementia by up to 75%. For any individual that has been experiencing hearing loss or any indications of hearing loss, it is advisable to contact an audiologist for a hearing test. We all experience signs of old age. 

For example, when we become a bit more forgetful, this could be a very early indication of age-related cognitive decline, but that's not to say that we are going to experience any form of serious cognitive decline soon. When it comes to scientific research, there's a lot of contradicting information, but when it comes to untreated hearing loss, you have to think about it in terms of how it will benefit your life. 

There have been significant studies that show that a decline in the ability to hear can increase depression and anxiety due to the feeling of isolation. The best place to begin is to have a hearing test and if you need a hearing aid.

Wearing hearing aids correctly can prevent dementia

When individuals are given hearing aids, they don't necessarily get into the habit of wearing them. This is an important thing to find out because individuals can feel a multitude of reasons that a hearing aid doesn't suit them. For example, a hearing aid needs to be bedded in. If you are struggling to make out people's voices, you have to remember that it can take time for the brain to adapt to recognizing certain voices. An individual can feel the hearing aid doesn't fit very well. 

Also, we can feel anxious about how they look. And as we get older, we can get into certain habits that are hard to break out of. And when individuals experience the individual preliminary signs of hearing loss, this can result in a wide variety of anxiety or depressive episodes. Hearing aids are linked to a lower risk of dementia as well as depression and falls. The University of Michigan experiment conducted between 2008 and 2016 highlighting this.

Contact an audiologist

Feeling any signs of old age can hit us hard. If you are experiencing any signs of hearing loss, it is important to get in contact with an audiologist to conduct a hearing test. As you can see, it's not just for the benefits of diagnosing hearing loss, but being fitted with a hearing aid sooner rather than later can have a direct impact on your quality of life. As hearing aids have been shown to delay dementia, as well as depression and even falls, taking the first step to getting a hearing impairment diagnosed is so important.

The signs of old age, from eyesight to experiencing hearing loss, can be a lot to contend with. It's important that, as we get older, we do what we can to keep a hold of our faculties in any way we can.

If you or a loved one is experiencing any form of hearing loss, get in contact with us at Siouxland Hearing Healthcare, P.L.C. to learn more about our services at (712) 266-3662, and we will be ready to help you. Any small sign of hearing loss needs to be addressed sooner rather than later, not just so you can improve your hearing, but it can have a direct impact on fighting one of the more heartbreaking aspects of old age.