If You Suffer From Hearing Loss, You're Not AloneWritten by Audio Help Hearing Centers
Studies have revealed that 1 in 3 people over 60 is living with life-diminishing hearing loss, and most of them wait 5 to 15 years before seeking treatment. The worst part is that the longer they wait, the more they miss, and the harder it can be to adjust to hearing aids.
However, living with untreated hearing loss also takes its toll on other parts of your brain, resulting in an increased risk of Dementia and overall cognitive decline.
The Hearing Loss & Dementia Link
Studies have shown that cognitive abilities of people with hearing loss, between the ages of 75 and 84, decline at a faster rate than those with normal hearing. Between 30 to 40% faster!
If your brain is spending all of its time trying to process reduced sounds, it places less emphasis on retaining other processes like memory and thinking. This overall strain has been attributed to brain atrophy, or a loss of neurons and their connections. Having this atrophy in the sound processing area of the brain can lead to isolated processing, rather than group processing, in brains of those with treated hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Treatment Results
In a recent study by assistant speech-language pathology professor, Jamie Desjardins, Ph.D., it was discovered that when having participants with untreated hearing loss use hearing aids for two weeks, their working memory, selective attention, and cognitive processing significantly increased.
"Think about somebody who is still working and they're not wearing hearing aids and they are spending so much of their brainpower just trying to focus on listening. They may not be able to perform their job as well. Or if they can, they're exhausted because they are working so much harder. They are more tired at the end of the day and it's a lot more taxing. It affects their quality of life," said Desjardins.
What This Means
If left untreated, your hearing loss can lead to serious emotional and social consequences, reduced job performance and diminished quality of life, as well as interference with brain processing, because so much energy is put toward understanding speech.