Dementia is a common condition affecting 47 million people across the world. While there is no cure yet, research has been done to reveal its risk factors and to slow the impact of cognitive decline. One of way you can limit your chance of developing dementia is by addressing untreated hearing loss. Hearing loss has been shown to contribute to cognitive decline in several ways, but by following these tips you can decrease your chances and remain healthy for the years to come.
When your brain can’t perform normal functions, such as listening, the gray matter in the related areas will shrink and deteriorate. When people withdraw from social situations due to hearing loss, they often experience this type of deterioration. Over time this can impact multiple functions of the brain, such as processing information, memory, and attention span. If you have hearing loss, discuss it with your family and close friends so they can be aware and accommodate you when having conversations.
In addition to brain cell loss, hearing difficulties also put stress on the brain. When you struggle to hear what’s been said, you use cognitive power that is needed for other tasks. When this occurs frequently, the brain loses its ability to perform those tasks. To reduce strain and make communication easier, ask loved ones to face you when speaking and minimize background noise when you converse. When you must speak in noisy environments, ask friends and family members to write down notes if needed so you won’t have to strain to hear.
Getting hearing aids is a simple way to decrease the risks of hearing loss. It will restore your hearing so you can engage in conversations easily and stop straining to hear other people. In fact, studies have shown that people with hearing loss who wear hearing aids for the first time experience improved working memory, speech processing, and ease of listening. These benefits will go a long way in fighting cognitive decline. At the same time, you’ll enjoy a greater sense of engagement when you socialize with loved ones and feel more confident speaking with new acquaintances.
Now that you understand the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline, it’s time to take the next steps. Schedule a hearing test, and explain any difficulties you’re having with your hearing. We can suggest the best hearing aids to improve hearing and reduce your risk for dementia in the future, so you can enjoy greater peace of mind and easier communication.