The research behind hearing loss has come a long way. One of the most striking developments has been how conditions are no longer perceived as isolated incidents but linked to a wide range of other health issues.
Dementia is one of the diseases that is more regularly found among those with an untreated hearing loss. But what does the science show us about the risks, links, and treatments?
What are the links?
The reason why hearing loss is linked to dementia is that hearing is an incredibly valuable resource for how we process complex information. As we pass through ever-changing environments, our ears absorb and send messages about sounds to our brains constantly. This lets us make split-second decisions about how we need to react in any given situation.
However, a hearing loss cuts down on the variety of sounds we can hear and prevents the nerve endings inside our inner ears from being stimulated. This, in turn, stops information from reaching the temporal lobe in our brains, which is responsible for processing speech and language. And without this, our cognitive system can begin to gradually decline, similar to how muscles atrophy if they get used less.
Who is most at risk?
We often associate dementia with older generations, as aging can play a key part in someone’s susceptibility. As hearing loss increases the risk of someone getting this issue, it’s important that people of all ages remain vigilant and treat their symptoms as soon as they arise.
Today, many of those at risk are in their twenties and thirties, as they’re experiencing louder sounds than ever before. A recent study at the University of Manchester found that those in a control group who went out to concerts regularly all had the early signs of a hearing loss. If you know someone with concerns or symptoms, let them know the best place to begin is with a simple hearing assessment provided by our specialists.
What are the treatments?
The good news is that treating hearing loss can reduce your risk of dementia. This was confirmed at a recent conference, where twenty-eight leading dementia experts suggested that hearing aid treatments were one of the best ways to prevent dementia. Hearing aid treatments are effective because they amplify sounds that someone with a hearing loss wouldn’t otherwise hear, which activates their brain.
Many people are often concerned about how others will think of them if they start wearing hearing aids but today’s devices are nothing like the early prototypes — instead, they’re sleek, discrete, and brimming with technology.
If you have concerns about a hearing loss or the risks of dementia, contact our team today at (310) 803-9496, and we’ll happily schedule you for an initial appointment!