As we know, hearing doesn’t happen in the ears, it happens in the brain. The links between mental health and hearing health are becoming more clear. Research produces new information all the time, discovering more about the significance of hearing health as it relates to overall health. In turn, it is becoming even more clear that it is so important to diagnose and treat hearing loss.
Many of the causes of dementia are unknown. But, the link with hearing loss provides some insight into the connection between the mind, sensory perception, and the process of cognitive decline. A person with dementia is not able to link ideas to one another clearly. The inability to hear other voices can be linked to this struggle of thoughts. Ted Leverton’s 2017 article Hearing Loss and Dementia stresses that the use of hearing aids can reduce or even prevent the increased prevalence of dementia among those with hearing loss.
Statistically speaking, those who live with untreated hearing loss are more likely to have other major health issues. This includes the early onset of cognitive decline. The 2017 article Association of Age-Related Hearing Loss With Cognitive Function, Cognitive Impairment, and Dementia: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis describes the many cognitive problems that they can link to hearing loss, aside from dementia. It is hard to tell the difference between the struggle to hear and the struggle to understand. A hearing test can shine some light on which issue the person is experiencing.
Treatment with hearing aids can help reduce the risk of other cognitive problems. In addition, being able to understand better because you can hear better is one of the added benefits of starting hearing loss treatment.
Another benefit of treating hearing loss is reducing the risk of injury. We use our sense of hearing to orient ourselves to the world in many ways. For example, maybe you’ve had the experience of hearing a loud sound and stumbling with the surprise. Sometimes hearing loss can cause us to hear incorrectly. This can lead to tripping, stumbling, or even falling and injuring ourselves.
Other injuries can be even more devastating. We use our ears to respond to warning signs in the environment. The sense of hearing is used to warn us of things we can?t see. If there is a danger while walking or driving, our ears may be able to pick up the warning signal before we’re able to see it. Not being able to hear those sounds can add to the risk of serious injury.
In addition to these mental and physical risks, emotional health can suffer as well. With hearing loss, some people have anxiety about social situations. For example, some people become nervous about parties, events, or other social functions that would ask them to listen and respond in conversation. As these issues become more severe, people may become depressed, feeling sad or angry about the things they can?t do that they used to be able to do. This sadness can accumulate, leading the mind to other negative thoughts.
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The good news is that there are so many effective and affordable solutions to hearing loss. The use of hearing aids can wipe a significant amount of these risks. It is important to tackle the problem of hearing loss as soon as possible. As these findings suggest, the risks associated with hearing loss should not be ignored. The sooner you are able to address the loss, the more likely you are to escape these other serious health risks.
If you believe you are experiencing a hearing loss, contact us at Hearing Group to schedule a hearing test and consultation.