So, you notice a decline in your hearing. But it’s not a big deal…. right?
We frequently see patients who admit they have a hearing problem but are not interested in treatment because they feel the hearing loss isn’t impacting their lives enough.
A recent study by Johns Hopkins’ Frank Lin, MD, PhD and colleagues found that even a mild hearing loss doubled the chances of dementia while a moderate hearing loss tripled the risk of dementia, and a severe hearing loss made subjects five times more likely to develop dementia. Those are some astounding numbers!
Dr. Lin suggests hearing loss may be indirectly related to atrophy of the brain, known as dementia. As we know, hearing loss can lead to social isolation, which leads to a decrease in human interaction as the hearing loss increases in severity. It becomes harder to communicate, especially in social scenes such as a crowded restaurant, so we may choose to do it less. Recent research shows that people who interact less are more likely to experience cognitive decline because our neural pathways are being exercised less. Kind of like a muscle that hasn’t been used in a while.
But what can we do to slow cognitive decline? Current research is studying how hearing aids impact the process. We know that hearing aid use leads to an increase in human interaction, as they make listening less effortful, and this could likely lead to a decrease in risk for developing dementia.
If you are having trouble hearing, don’t be silent. Hearing loss happens to people of all ages. Make an appointment with a Doctor of Audiology so we can help you find a treatment option that works for you! Please contact us at 1-800-277-1182 or email firstname.lastname@example.org