Hearing loss and dementia become more common as you get older, and this is no coincidence – studies have found a link between the two. While your risk increases as your hearing loss worsens, it doesn’t mean that you will definitely develop dementia if you have hearing loss. But any hearing loss certainly does increase your chance of developing dementia.
For many people with mild hearing loss, they don’t even realize that their hearing has deteriorated at all. But mild hearing loss can have serious consequences if left untreated, including reduced cognitive function, a decline in mental health, social isolation and dementia.
These studies aren’t suggesting that hearing loss alone causes dementia. However, they do highlight the link between them caused by:
If you are concerned about the link between your hearing loss and dementia, then there is some good news. The potential link between the two raises the possibility that more focused attempts to treat hearing loss earlier could help to slow down the onset of cognitive decline and dementia. Numerous studies show the difference that hearing aids can make to a person’s quality of life. Not only do they improve hearing but can also help to preserve your independence, emotional and physical health, mental abilities and your work, home and social life.
In a 2015 study, 94 people with profound deafness in at least one ear were each given a cochlear implant and twice-weekly auditory rehabilitation sessions. More than 80% of people who had initially had the lowest cognitive scores showed considerable improvement in just one year.
It is believed that early detection and treatment of hearing loss can help to reduce the risk of developing dementia later on. There are different types of hearing loss and each vary in cause, severity and affected part of the ear. You may experience hearing loss in just one ear or both and the severity of the hearing loss can vary between the ears. Understanding your type of hearing loss can help you to better communicate about your hearing loss to your doctor or hearing care professional who will support your treatment.
There are three main types of hearing loss:
If you are concerned that you may be showing signs of dementia, it’s crucial that you see a health care provider as soon as possible, and get your hearing tested as part of this assessment. Undiagnosed hearing loss symptoms can sometimes be confused with dementia symptoms when they are really not.
If you don’t stimulate your brain enough by interacting with people and places and don’t use your brain to hear and listen, the more risk there is of your brain declining and your risk of dementia rising. Treating your hearing loss won't cure dementia, but it will improve your quality of life in the short term, and it can also help your brain to stay healthy for longer.
It's time to finally treat your hearing loss. Sign up for a free consultation with a licensed hearing care professional today to determine if you have hearing loss. It’s the start of your journey towards better hearing.