Hearing Aids Mitigate Cognitive Decline in Older People

Hearing Aids Mitigate Cognitive Decline in Older People

In Cognitive Health by Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A

Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A

Have you ever noticed when your ears are clogged your whole life seems to get in disarray? This has to do with the fact that your hearing is directly related to basically every action of your life. For instance, your cognitive abilities become a bit more challenging when your ears are not functioning properly. This means that you may have problems with your memory and logic as well as many other senses you rely on daily.

Understanding Hearing

Sounds around you create vibrations in your eardrums. The sound them travels through your ear, and causes fluid to move within the cochlea (this is a part of the inner ear). This movement signals tiny hairs, known as cilia, to bend and transmit signals to the brain. The brain then interprets these vibrations into sounds. If your hearing is degrading, then you will not receive an accurate audible feedback in reference to what you are hearing. For example, you may have the radio blasting, yet you barely hear a thing. This inability to hear is detrimental in regards to your hearing as well as others who hear the noise far better than you can.

What is Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

Sensorineural hearing loss can occur due to viral or bacterial illnesses such as measles and mumps. However, blunt force trauma or extremely loud noises are known to provoke sensorineural hearing loss as well. It is always best to protect your ears when you are around loud noises, because once the tiny hairs are damaged in your ears, they cannot repair themselves. This is why it is extremely important to seek advice from a healthcare provider if you are sick and your hearing is impaired.

A Link between Untreated Hearing Loss & Dementia

There is new evidence arising that shows a direct relationship between the decline in cognitive abilities accompanying hearing loss. A study found that when individuals that suffered from hearing loss wore a hearing aid that their ability to recall information was easier and significantly faster. Dementia has been linked to hearing loss, and it has been suggested that through the use of hearing aids an individual greatly decreases their risk of suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s in their later years of life.

Studies are beginning to present facts that allow us to understand how even a minimal amount of hearing loss can greatly attribute to memory and cognitive decline. This is due to the fact that when you cannot hear it is necessary to strain. This in turn causes your brain to strain, and ultimately you will only damage your hearing further. With so many innovations in regards to treating hearing loss there truly is no reason to suffer from unnecessary damage to your hearing. Not all damage to your hearing can be repaired, however, it is always best to seek the help of an individual who can inform you of your options. For instance, you may find that with the use of a hearing aid you can hear things you have not been able to hear in years. 

Benefits of Using Hearing Aids

With the help of a hearing aid you will feel like you can think clearly again as well. This is due to the fact that your brain will no longer be overloaded trying to sort out unclear information. You will also lessen your chances of suffering from depression, anxiety, and balance disorders. There is no need to isolate yourself from the world when all you truly need is the ability to enhance your hearing. If your brain has to continually struggle to make sense of the world around you, then you are not only stressing your brain, but you are adding to the decline of your cognitive abilities as well. Do not hesitate to seek assistance as soon as you realize you are losing your hearing.

Signs to look for in regards to hearing loss are high pitched ringing, clogged ears, balance disorders, and dizziness. If you have noticed that you are not hearing things as clearly as you once did, then it is time to have your ears checked. It is important to remember when you are sick that your hearing may suffer, although, this type of hearing impairment will normally get better as the illness subsides. However, when it comes to hearing loss due to trauma and loud noises, scar tissue is normally formed and hearing loss is permanent. Therefore, make sure you seek the help of a professional to ensure that you do not suffer from cognitive disorders or lose your hearing completely.

South Shore Hearing Center

If you’ve noticed changes in your hearing and struggle with communication, contact us today. We provide comprehensive hearing health services and we’re here to help!