Did you know that hearing loss has an effect on your overall health? Research has linked hearing loss to declined mobility, a greater increase of falls, and more hospitalizations. Hearing loss also impacts our everyday engagement through communication and conversations with our friends and family. When communication deteriorates, so do our relationships. This leads to social anxiety, social isolation, and potentially depression. If all these health impacts weren’t enough, hearing loss has cognitive affects as well. A recent study found that symptoms of memory loss could actually be linked to hearing loss.
Research on Memory and Hearing Loss
Do you or anyone else close to you show signs of memory loss? Is there concern that it is something severe as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia? If so, you may want to seek out a hearing health professional and get your hearing tested. A recent study published in the Canadian Journal on Aging found that roughly 56% of the patients they evaluated for memory, cognitive concerns, and potential brain disorders faced some level of mild to severe hearing loss, yet only 20% of them wore hearing devices.
“We commonly see clients who are worried about Alzheimer’s disease because their partner complains that they don’t seem to pay attention, they don’t seem to listen or they don’t remember what is said to them,” explains Dr. Vandermorris, lead author of the study and clinical neuropsychologist at Baycrest Centre. She notes that “sometimes addressing hearing loss may mitigate or fix what looks like a memory issue. An individual isn’t going to remember something said to them if they didn’t hear it properly.”
Although the signs may show that memory loss is actually being mistaken for hearing loss, a vast body of research sheds light on how the two are highly correlated.
The Link between Hearing Health and Cognitive Health
If you or a loved one is concerned about your overall cognitive health, it is important to make hearing health a part of the concern. Dr. Vandermorris acknowledges that “some people may be reluctant to address hearing loss, but they need to be aware that hearing health is brain health and help is available.” The longer you continue on with untreated hearing loss, the greater the impact to your cognitive health.
A 2013 John Hopkins University Study discovered that those with hearing loss acquired a 30-40 percent faster decrease in cognitive function compared to those without hearing loss. The rate of cognitive decline was also greater as hearing loss increased. One reason for this occurrence is that hearing loss causes the brain to shift resources away from memory and thinking in order to pick up unheard sounds. Further, hearing loss may be a symptom of a shared underlying injury to the brain that also impairs cognitive functionality. Further research shows that untreated hearing loss could potentially lead to dementia.
Hearing loss also leads to social isolation and potentially depression, which can further mental decline. According to Dr. Vandermorris, “People who can’t hear well have difficulty communicating and tend to withdraw from social activities as a way of coping. This can lead to isolation and loneliness, which can impact cognitive, physical and mental health.”
As you can see, living with untreated hearing loss is detrimental to your cognitive health. Take the first step to looking after your overall health by taking care of your hearing health.
Treat Your Hearing Loss
Believe it or not, it takes on average seven years for those with hearing loss to seek out treatment. Living that long with untreated hearing is harmful to not only hearing health, but overall health as well. If you feel that you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss or memory loss, don’t wait another day.
Treat your hearing loss and do the right thing for your brain. You may find that your memory loss could actually be hearing loss, and treating your hearing will restore your memory and get you back to doing the things you’ve loved. Be on the right path towards improving not only your hearing health, but also your cognitive and overall health!
Visit us at Desert Valley Audiology
Regardless if you are facing hearing, memory loss, or neither, it is important to set up an appointment for a hearing test. Early detection of hearing health concerns allows for the best options for treatment and preventative measures impacting your overall health. Reach out to us at Desert Valley Audiology today for more information about setting up a hearing test today!