Hearing loss and memory loss are conditions that happen commonly as we age. As a matter of fact, studies have suggested that it’s no coincidence when a person develops both when he or she grows old. An increasing number of evidence shows that cases in dementia are actually linked to troubled hearing.
The Link Between Hearing Loss and Dementia
Having some level of hearing loss does not guarantee that a person will automatically experience memory loss later on in life. But we can safely assume that the chances of having this condition is higher as compared to those who have normal hearing. According to a study, mild hearing loss makes the odds of developing dementia twice higher. They also found out that the risk of mental decline seems to increase as the degree of hearing loss gets worse. Older adults experiencing moderate and severe hearing loss are at risk of developing dementia thrice and 5 times higher respectively.
Researchers have yet to find out the scientific connection between the two, but a few suggestions have been made, which can help us understand how hearing loss and dementia are linked together.
- Hearing loss tend to require the brain to work harder in order to keep up with the efficiency of the hearing sense. This may overwhelm the organ and make unnecessary use of resources that can rather be used for other brain activities.
- A person experiencing hearing loss is not able to pick up sounds effectively as it has before. This results to the decline of signals sent by the nerves to the brain, which causes the brain to deteriorate.
- Hearing loss causes patients to isolate themselves from other people due to their reduced ability to keep up with conversations. This in particular is a known risk factor of dementia as well.
The Next Best Thing to Do
We’ve mentioned this a couple of times, but it’s still worthy of pointing out—the best thing to do in order to protect your hearing health is by protecting your ears and reducing the amount of time you let yourself be exposed to loud sounds. By doing this, you are helping decrease the chances of losing your hearing as you get older.
Some of you might ask, “If I already have hearing loss, can wearing hearing aids prevent the development of memory loss?”
There is still no solid proof that wearing a hearing device can actually prevent patients from developing a cognitive disorder. In spite of that, we still recommend hearing loss patients to wear one. Even without conclusive evidences on helping avert dementia, hearing aids can still be an effective tool in hindering those 3 suggestions connecting hearing loss from memory loss—it can improve reception to hearing loss, and in turn, improve a person’s ability to communicate and relate to other people.
If you think that your hearing is worsening as you age, our best advice is to get a hearing test right away. The sooner you get checked, the sooner we can figure out what needs to be done in order to prevent further damages on your health.
The Listening Lab offers FREE hearing tests for everyone. To avail, all you need to do is visit one of our branches in Singapore or Malaysia. To book an appointment, you may call any of the following numbers: +65 6817 5100 (SG) and +603 7725 9334 (MY).