Are Hearing Loss and Dementia Connected?

As we get older, it is common to experience a decline in some functions. For instance, many people experience less energy, vision problems, hearing issues, and memory lapses. But when do these common signs of aging become a reason to really worry?

Today’s aging adults are concerned about Alzheimer’s and dementia. Are there ways to slow down some of these cognition problems to avoid more serious age-related mental conditions? One of the ways you can protect your brain is to understand the risk factors.

Recent studies have found a powerful connection between hearing loss and the decline of cognitive skills. These studies suggest that those experiencing hearing loss are more at risk of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia as they age. Let’s look more deeply into this.

What’s the Connection?

Some researchers believe that those who are experiencing hearing loss are under what is called a heavier cognitive load. This means that the mental effort needed to interpret what people are saying overworks the brain and contributes to stress and confusion. An overworked, stressed brain is not working at its best. 

Another contributing factor can be that when brain cells are deprived of stimulation, they can start to shrink. Those who suffer from hearing loss are being deprived of sound stimulation.

The other very important contributing factor can be social isolation. Those with hearing loss will find social interactions stressful because they cannot understand what is being said to them or around them. This often causes a withdrawal from social situations and relationships. Isolation has long been understood to be a contributing factor to dementia.  

What Can Be Done?

There is some good news, though. Doctors have long believed that Alzheimer’s and dementia can be deterred by keeping the brain stimulated with activities and social interaction. For those who are experiencing hearing loss, it is imperative that they have their hearing issues addressed so that their hearing loss and cognition do not dramatically affect their mental state over time.

You can protect your brain by taking steps to address your hearing loss. Hearing aids can help aging individuals stay active, healthy, and mentally stable.

At McGuire’s Hearing Centers, we believe that hearing care is health care, including staving off dementia and Alzheimer’s concerns. We want to help you with hearing evaluations and hearing aid recommendations. Our staff is trained to help you solve your hearing issues today.