Untreated Hearing Loss and Dementia: How are They Connected?
Actively maintaining your health becomes increasingly important as you age, and that includes maintaining your brain health. As you get older, your risk for developing conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease increases. In addition to age itself, hearing loss is also associated with an increased risk in developing dementia.
Let’s take a closer look at the connection between hearing loss and dementia:
Hearing Loss Strains Your Brain
When you experience hearing loss, it may put extra stress on your brain. The brain has to work harder to understand and memorize details during conversations and presentations. This added stress may increase your risk of dementia.
Hearing Loss Leads to Isolation
Hearing loss can often lead to someone withdrawing from social situations and interactions with loved ones. The isolation and lack of stimulation can not only lead to depression, but it might also decrease activity in your brain and contribute to your risk of dementia.
Hearing Loss Accelerates Atrophy
It’s natural for your brain to atrophy, or shrink, to a certain extent as you age. It’s possible that hearing loss can accelerate and potentially exacerbate the extent to which your brain atrophies.
Signs of Hearing Loss
It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of hearing loss so you can consider treatment as soon as possible. Symptoms include:
- Difficulty understanding conversations, especially in public
- Trouble recalling details from conversation
- Asking people to repeat themselves
- Turning up the volume on the television
The symptoms of hearing loss can be uncomfortable and should be discussed with the hearing healthcare professionals at Hear For You Hearing & Balance Center once you notice them.
Reducing Your Risk for Dementia
While you cannot control risk factors like age and genetics, you can take steps to limit other risk factors for dementia. Here are some actions you can take:
- Avoid activities like smoking and excessive drinking
- Treat any common comorbidities of dementia you may have such as obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes
- Participate in regular physical activities
- Keep your brain stimulated with intellectual activities
Having your hearing checked and potentially treating existing hearing loss is also a critical step to help you to lower your risk. Studies have shown that using hearing aids to treat hearing loss might reduce your risk of developing dementia in your lifetime.
Hear For You Hearing & Balance Center is proud to provide hearing healthcare services to Cumberland, Smithfield, and North Smithfield. If you or someone you know is experiencing hearing loss, contact our office today to discuss how we can help you hear better.