It’s World Alzheimer’s Month! Every September, Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) works to raise awareness about dementias such as Alzheimer’s Disease, educating people on the signs and symptoms of the disease, and offering solutions to prevent the disease or slow its progress. My Hearing Centers wants you to have all the information you need to have a healthy body and brain, and lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Did you know that dementia is one of the leading causes of disability among American seniors?
Hearing Loss and Brain Health
Alzheimer’s affects roughly 5.8 million Americans. While dementia is most common among seniors, it is not a normal part of aging, and you should do everything in your power to have a healthy brain. A recent study in the Archives of Neurology journal shows that those with hearing loss are far more likely to develop dementia than those with clear hearing. Those with even mild hearing loss are twice as likely to suffer from dementia within 5 years than those who didn’t have a hearing loss. Meanwhile, those with moderate to severe hearing loss are five times as likely to develop dementia! “A lot of people ignore hearing loss because it’s such a slow and insidious process as we age,” lead researcher Dr. Frank Lin, Johns Hopkins otologist and epidemiologist, explained. “Even if people feel as if they are not affected, we’re showing that it may well be a more serious problem.”
How Does Hearing Loss Contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease?
Even if you think your hearing loss isn’t having a big effect on your life, hearing loss is affecting your brain in profound ways. When you have hearing loss, your brain isn’t receiving the same level of input from the environment around you, and you find yourself straining to hear. This puts a lot of strain on your brain, leading to fatigue. You’ll use all your energy straining to hear, and won’t have any processing power left over for other tasks like memory or good decision making.
Hearing Loss and Social Isolation
Hearing loss also contributes to social isolation and depression. Studies have found that those with untreated hearing loss are twice as likely to suffer from mood swings, or bouts of sadness and depression. When you’re not able to follow conversations, it’s hard to maintain close relationships, and lead an active social life. Social isolation affects your brain, and when you stay home alone your brain doesn’t get enough exercise. You’re in danger of more rapid cell degeneration and brain shrinkage.
“Hearing loss may have a profoundly detrimental effect on older people’s physical and mental well-being and even health care resources,” says Lin. “Our results underscore why hearing loss should not be considered an inconsequential part of aging, but an important issue for public health.”
Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease
Want to do the right thing for your brain? One of the best ways to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease is to treat your hearing loss! Giving your brain the ability to easily hear all the sounds around you will keep your auditory centers strong and healthy. The parts of your brain responsible for decision-making and reasoning won’t be over-worked, and you’ll be able to remember clearly, and easily perform all your daily tasks.
Clear hearing will keep your more socially engaged, and exercise your brain, keeping the cells and neural connections healthy. You’ll have energy to meet friends for a drink at the new restaurant downtown, or learn a new hobby of skill, developing new networks in your brain, and decreasing your chances of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.
My Hearing Centers
If you’re ready to do the right thing for your brain health, and reduce your risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, visit us at My Hearing Centers for a consultation and hearing test. Researchers like Lin and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins keep finding more ways that hearing loss affects your physical, mental, and emotional health. Treating your hearing loss has countless benefits, from a strong social life to deceased listening effort, and brain strain.
Ready to hear clearly, and give your brain the exercise it needs to be healthy? Call us today to book your appointment, and discover what a pair of hearing devices can do for you.