Are Hearing Loss and Dementia as Connected as We Think?
Hoglund Family Hearing Examines the Link in Fort Myers, FL
It’s not uncommon for us to see a patient experiencing both hearing loss and memory loss at Hoglund Family Hearing and Audiology Centers. Is there a direct link between hearing loss and dementia, or is this a stereotype perpetuated by the public-at-large? Our audiologist examines this relationship to educate our patients in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Estero, Cape Coral, and elsewhere in Florida. Understanding the connections between your hearing and your overall health may be beneficial for you in the long-term. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns you may have.
Experts Say Adults with Hearing Loss Are at a Higher Risk
There are many similarities between the symptoms of untreated hearing loss and early-stage cognitive issues. Many medical experts have published studies showing how adults over the age of 60 with moderate-to-severe hearing loss are as much as five times more likely to develop dementia than those without a hearing disorder. Your risk for developing dementia seems to increase as your hearing loss increases. The link between hearing loss and dementia may be a result of inactivity in the brain. When the part of your brain responsible for hearing starts to become inactive, it may result in tissue loss. Many studies suggest the brains of individuals with hearing loss shrink (atrophy) more rapidly than the brains of those without hearing loss.
Another possible connection between hearing loss and dementia revolves around what happens when your brain becomes overstimulated. When you have difficulty hearing, your brain often works harder to focus on the sounds around you. Ask anyone with hearing loss how exhausting it can be to try to keep up with conversations in a noisy environment, and this will all begin to make more sense to you. Some medical experts believe this constant strain on the brain leads to a depletion of the brainpower necessary to perform other cognitive functions like thinking or remembering certain things.
How Are Hearing Aids and Dementia Connected to Your Health?
Wearing a hearing aid not only improves your hearing – it can also improve your mental wellbeing, physical and emotional health, social life, and more. A person with untreated hearing loss may retreat into a lonely life, choosing not to interact with others out of anxiety or paranoia about what they can’t hear. This isn’t healthy for anyone’s psyche, not to mention it can put an individual at a higher risk for developing dementia as their brainpower begins to decline. Much like the rest of your body, your brain needs to be stimulated to remain healthy and active. The sooner you’re diagnosed with hearing loss and begin treatment with the use of a hearing aid, the less likely you are to develop dementia early in life. Many experts agree wearing a hearing aid may significantly slow down your rate of memory decline.
How Do Hearing Aids Help Patients Who Already Have Dementia?
For a person who already has dementia, hearing loss often further escalates their feelings of mental confusion, frustration, and isolation. Wearing a hearing aid may help improve the person’s quality of life because it eliminates the challenges of trying to listen and reply using only verbal cues. Read this testimonial from one of our patients at Hoglund Family Hearing to see the distinct correlation between hearing loss and dementia from someone experiencing both and how wearing hearing aids helped him.
Learn More About the Link Between Hearing Loss and Dementia
Would you like to learn more about the link between hearing loss, hearing aids, and dementia? Watch our educational video on the subject or feel free to contact Hoglund Family Hearing to learn more. We proudly serve patients across Florida, including Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, and Estero.