Hearing loss has become a hot topic, and many people are wondering when the best time is to invest in hearing devices. You might be thinking of waiting until your hearing loss is severe to treat hearing loss, but this is actually the worst decision you could possibly make for your brain. In fact, living with untreated hearing loss might spell the end of more than just your hearing health.
The Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss
You may have heard that hearing loss is linked to a log of negative health outcomes. Those with hearing loss are more likely to struggle with communicating, and are at a higher risk of depression or other mental health concerns, and experience overall lower quality of life. If you’re struggling to follow conversations, this is just the beginning. Communication becomes harder and harder as your hearing declines, and leads to frustration and anxiety, putting a strain on relationships and leaving you socially isolated.
Hearing loss is also tied to poor job performance. If you can’t communicate effectively with your boss or your coworkers, its no wonder you can’t do your job well. Going to work may soon become stressful or uncomfortable, and your hearing loss might even be putting your safety, or the safety of the team, in jeopardy. And forget about a promotion. Rather than being recognized for your hard work, your hearing loss could be the reason you’re overlooked for a raise, or even lose your job altogether.
Hearing Loss and the Brain
We often think that hearing loss is a problem with the ears, but it’s actually far more than that. Hearing loss affects your brain in profound ways, and living with untreated hearing loss often leads to rapid cognitive decline. As the auditory centers in your brain receive less input, you’ll start to lose cells that aren’t being used, and treating hearing loss later won’t bring those cells back. If you have untreated hearing loss, it won’t be long before you start to notice that your brain isn’t functioning as well as it once was, and you’ll experience problems in concentration and memory, and struggle to perform cognitive tasks. The consequences of hearing loss are permanent, so before you decide to live with untreated hearing loss, think about your brain.
Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline
One study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society looked closely at the links between hearing loss and cognitive decline, and analyzed data from thousands of older Americans. They studied data collected from the Health and Retirement Study, a country-wide study that followed American’s over the age of 50, and measured their cognitive abilities every 2 years for a period of 18 years. They measured things like memory, delayed recall, planning skills, and concentration. The study found that those with hearing loss were 24% more likely to have cognitive decline! Those with hearing loss experienced rapid cognitive decline, and had far worse scores than their hearing peers.
Living with hearing loss speeds up cognitive decline, and leaves seniors at a far higher risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.
How Hearing Aids Can Help
The good news is that hearing aids have been shown to mitigate cognitive decline! For those who treated their hearing loss, rates of cognitive decline matched the levels of normal aging, meaning those with hearing aids were protecting their brains. Using hearing aids allows you to keep using your brain fully, and maintain cognitive skills as well as improving communication with your loved ones, friends, and coworkers.
Treating Hearing Loss
The key to mitigating cognitive decline is to treat your hearing loss early. As soon as you notice any small signs of hearing loss, invest in a pair of hearing aids that will keep your hearing sharp, and prevent rapid losses in your cognitive abilities. You’ll maintain a healthy brain, and won’t feel old. If you could save your brain, wouldn’t you start early?
Visit us today at Gulf Gate Hearing Aid Center for a hearing assessment, and to discus your options when it comes to hearing aids. Less than 20% of those who need hearing aids actually use them. Be a trend setter, and find the hearing aids that will change your life.