Hearing loss is a typical side effect of ageing. According to estimates, hearing loss affects 30% or more of adults 65 and older, and this number rises with age. While dealing with hearing loss on its own can be annoying and difficult, current research has suggested that it may also increase the risk of dementia.
What is Dementia?
A variety of cognitive impairments, such as memory loss, communication difficulties, and changes in behaviour and personality, are referred to as dementia. Alzheimer’s disease makes up between 60 and 80 percent of instances of dementia, making it the most prevalent type. Although the precise causes of dementia are not yet fully understood, it is thought that a mix of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors may be responsible. A multitude of risk factors, such as ageing, high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking, are linked to dementia.
How are Hearing Loss and Dementia connected?
Even while dementia and hearing loss may appear to be two distinct diseases, recent studies have indicated that there may be a connection between the two. In fact, studies have found that those who have hearing loss may experience dementia five times more frequently than those who do not.
Cognitive load is one of the most prevalent hypotheses for why hearing loss may raise the risk of dementia. People with hearing loss may have to work harder to interpret speech and other noises if they have difficulty hearing. As a result of this increased cognitive load, memory and concentration may suffer, which could eventually result in cognitive decline.
In addition, hearing loss can result in social exclusion and decreased communication, both of which increase the risk of dementia. Those who find it difficult to fully engage in social interactions and conversations may feel alone and depressed, which can be harmful to their cognitive health.
Is there something that I can do to prevent Dementia?
While there is ongoing research into the connection between hearing loss and dementia, there are activities that people may do to assist avoid or lower the risk of cognitive decline. Getting frequent hearing examinations is one of the most crucial things. Early detection and treatment of hearing loss can help people avoid the cognitive strain that comes with difficulty hearing and retain cognitive function.
Also, sustaining a healthy lifestyle can aid in lowering the chance of dementia. This include maintaining a nutritious diet, exercising frequently, and abstaining from tobacco use and binge drinking. Controlling other medical issues, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, can also be beneficial.
Hearing aids are a useful therapeutic option for people who already suffer hearing loss. Hearing aids can lessen the cognitive load associated with difficulty hearing and support people in maintaining cognitive function by boosting sounds and enhancing voice clarity.
What Can I Do Right Now?
Even though the connection between hearing loss and dementia is still being studied, it is obvious that the two are strongly correlated. People can prevent or lower the risk of cognitive decline by being aware of the potential problems linked to hearing loss.
It’s crucial to consult your doctor or an audiologist if you have any concerns about your hearing or cognitive health. To assist you keep your hearing and mental capacity, they can conduct a thorough evaluation and provide treatment alternatives.