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The Link Between Hearing Loss & Dementia
When one experiences hearing loss, they’re dealing with more than just their inability to hear as well as they once could. Yes, we take hearing for granted every single day as it’s all we know. We cannot fathom how it is to not hear anymore, so we never really consider the ramification until perhaps it’s too late. Hearing loss doesn’t just affect one’s ability to listen clearly – it also affects the likes of perception and balance.
Something that has also come to light is the connection between hearing loss and brain issues such as dementia. Audiologists and researchers all over the globe are continually looking for more answers regarding this link, and it’s likely that more information will come to light over the next few years. For now, though, let us quickly run through a few already established points about the link between hearing loss and dementia.
Firstly, what causes hearing loss?
There are many ways in which a person can experience hearing loss. Firstly, they can be born with it. Secondly, they can lose it due to an injury or accident. Thirdly, gradual loss over time.
Sudden hearing loss might be brought about through constant loud noises, trauma to the head or certain medications. The gradual process can be a case of it grinding away at one’s ears from consistent exposure to loud noises, infections or natural aging.
What causes dementia?
Dementia is something that affects so many people around the globe. It’s a term used to describe the way the brain slowly declines in function. Those dealing with dementia often experience communication issues, severe memory loss and an inability to think properly.
Around 50 million people live with dementia currently, but that figure is just an estimation and may be more. It’s typically attributed to those of older ages, but many people in their 30s, 40s and 50s can also be struck by it. It is typically caused by Alzheimer’s disease – another medical issue you may have heard of. This is when a lack of blood and oxygen reaches the brain, causing a series of strokes.
So, is there actually a link between the two?
As a species, we haven’t quite managed to figure everything out just yet. We have, however, managed to figure out that people with hearing loss do tend to experience dementia a little later on in life. It is said with some confidence that hearing loss in old age is an early sign that dementia and other cognitive issues may follow.
The idea is that the isolation brought on by hearing loss might have a direct effect as isolation has been linked to dementia in other, more independent studies. The brain’s division of labor is also being effective as hearing is a significant part of understanding and recognizing stimuli.
Is there any evidence to support any of this?
Studies have taken place that may corroborate many different ideas. One study has shown that those with hearing loss were around twenty percent more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease. It was a case of the worse the hearing loss, the higher the chances of dementia.
Another showed that people with mild hearing issues were twice as likely to develop a cognitive decline later – while those with moderate hearing loss were three times as likely. Those with severe loss were five times as likely to experience such a decline. While this numerical and circumstantial proof is all we may have, it’s still a good barometer.
What is being done to combat these pressing issues?
While there is no real cure for dementia just yet, the proof and research will be able to help us out hugely. If hearing loss can be used as a sign of dementia, then improving a person’s hearing could boost their chances of living a fuller life with less chance of such a dramatic and heart-breaking cognitive decline. When someone’s hearing is impaired somewhat, there are many options one can choose. One of which is a modern hearing aid.
Those at Imagine Hearing Solutions might just be able to help. If you’re currently experiencing mild, moderate or severe hearing loss and need somewhere to turn to, then a call (530) 392-4533 might just be the right decision. Not only could your hearing be improved hugely, but further issues down the line may be staved off due to this productive step.