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Hearing and Mental Health – Part 2: Dementia

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Hearing loss affects much more than someone not being able to hear as well as they did before. Numerous studies have shown that hearing loss, if left untreated, can increase social isolation, feelings of loneliness and exclusion, and depression. We at Audiology Innovations are here to provide insight on how hearing loss can affect one’s mental health. In the first part of this series, we covered how hearing loss impacts one’s balance. In today’s blog, we are going to cover how hearing loss and dementia are related.

To learn more about hearing loss, its effect on one’s health, and how assisted listening devices like hearing aids can help, visit our website today. For information regarding home visits, remote hearing aid adjustments, or other services we offer, give us a call today.

WHAT IS DEMENTIA?

Before we dive into how dementia and hearing loss are related to one another, let’s take a step back and discuss what dementia is. Simply put, dementia is an umbrella term for diseases or conditions that people develop with a variety of characteristics, including decreases in problem-solving skills, language, memory, and overall cognitive functioning. Dementia is an extremely complex condition that is usually caused by a progressive loss of nerve cells, commonly referred to as Alzheimer’s disease, and vascular dementia, which is attributed to a decline in brain function, most likely from a series of small strokes over a period of time. Dementia does not look the same for everyone, and can have different effects on different people. Now that we have covered what dementia is, let’s get into how hearing loss and dementia are connected.

HOW ARE DEMENTIA AND HEARING LOSS RELATED?

There have been multiple studies conducted that suggest hearing loss can cause changes in the brain that consequently result in an increased risk for dementia. In fact, people that experience moderate to severe hearing loss in their life are five times more likely to develop dementia.

The reason being, when one’s hearing isn’t as good as it once was before, it can result in tissue loss and shifts in the brain’s structure. This has been referred to as the first link between hearing loss and cognitive decline.

Additionally, when one’s brain has to work harder to understand what someone is saying to them, it depletes that person’s mental energy, and uses valuable brain power that’s needed for everyday functions, like memory, cognitive thinking, and much more.

When people begin to experience these difficulties with not being able to hear well, in addition to having a harder time with their cognitive abilities, it can result in social isolation. This can lead to loneliness, worry, depression, and more. In our final part of this series, we will cover this occurrence in more detail. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the difficulties above, get in touch with us at Audiology Innovations today. We are here to find the perfect hearing solution for you!

HOW ASSISTED LISTENING DEVICES CAN HELP

When people begin to experience these difficulties with not being able to hear well, in addition to having a harder time with their cognitive abilities, it can result in social isolation. This can lead to loneliness, worry, depression, and more. In our final part of this series, we will cover this occurrence in more detail. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the difficulties above, get in touch with us at Audiology Innovations today. We are here to find the perfect hearing solution for you!

While hearing loss and dementia are separately very scary, concerning, and serious conditions, there is hope. Scientific studies have found that the use of assisted listening devices, such as hearing aids, help reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and can slow down the development of dementia. 

As mentioned earlier, when someone has difficulty hearing, their brain essentially goes into overdrive trying to hear and understand the words being spoken to them, which results in other cognitive abilities, such as thinking and remembering, being compromised. With the help of listening devices, it makes it easier for the person to hear, reserving some of their energy that can be used for other cognitive tasks. 

As soon as you or a loved one starts experiencing a decline in hearing abilities, schedule an appointment with one of our audiologists today. We are here to help you hear your world better.

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT WITH AUDIOLOGY INNOVATIONS TODAY

Hearing loss affects so much more than just not being able to hear as well as you once did before. Our expert audiologists here at Audiology Innovations are passionate about changing people’s lives through our innovative hearing services, and we would love to help you next. Schedule an appointment today, or give us a call for more information about our services.

Our staff. We each have unique reasons why we want to help you hear better.

We want to know what each patient’s unique hearing challenges are. We therefore complete a thorough audiometric test battery as well as ‘listening in noise’ testing. This gives us a better understanding of the ‘real world’ hearing abilities you have.

There is extensive research to show that early identification and treatment is critical to good brain health.

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