The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Dementia

August 15, 2018

For some people, getting older means experiencing hearing loss and memory problems. Unfortunately, this is not an unusual combination for older folks—these two health issues are linked. Research provides evidence that having trouble with your hearing puts you in a higher risk category for developing dementia, a condition characterized by memory loss and issues with cognitive processes and thinking in general. However, it’s important to note that not all people with hearing loss will have dementia—it just means they are at higher risk for it.

Fortunately, there are preventative steps you can take to lower your chances of dementia. You can take action whether or not you currently have trouble hearing. Let’s get some insight from a hearing aid center in Waterloo, IA about the connection between hearing loss and dementia.

The link

So, how are hearing loss and memory trouble linked? The short answer is that studies show that a person’s chance for developing a condition like dementia appears to increase as their hearing problems get worse. And although researchers have found a link between hearing loss and mental decline, they actually don’t know for sure how the two conditions are connected.

How ignoring hearing loss affects memory

Did you know that your hearing plays a huge role in keeping your brain alert and your memory sharp? When your hearing begins to go, so can your ability to recount memories, and your thought process slows down. Here are three ways hearing loss affects your memory:

  • It can cause stress: Straining to hear is a big contributor to stress, as it causes your brain to experience cognitive overload. Your brain ends up having to work harder to piece together what others are saying, and processing the information too slowly means it doesn’t reach your memory bank. The more severe your hearing loss, the more your brain has to pull away from other cognitive tasks to get the information across.
  • It can lead to isolation: Many people with moderate to severe hearing loss tend to fall into a state of isolation. Isolation from other people, not going out in public and even refusing to answer the phone can come about when someone with hearing loss is frustrated by having to ask “what?” over and over again. Frustration from trying to hear in social situations can make a person seem short tempered and irritable. Unfortunately, prolonged social isolation often leads to depression, changes in the brain and short- and/or long-term memory loss.
  • It can put your brain on pause: When isolated from society, the brain will soon fall victim to too much quiet time. The brain won’t have to work hard or as much as it once did, and then the unused areas of the brain shrink or get reassigned to other cognitive duties.

Hearing loss can affect your memory. Luckily, there are some things you can do to lower your chances of hearing loss as you age: keep your heart healthy, avoid loud noises, quit smoking and schedule regular hearing tests. Contact Potter’s Hearing Aid Service, your go-to hearing aid center in Waterloo, IA, to learn more!

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