The third most common health condition affecting older adults is hearing loss. The Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention, and Care cited hearing loss as one of the topmost risk factors for dementia. In fact, hearing-impaired patients are found to experience cognitive decline at a staggering 30 to 50 percent faster rate than those with normal hearing. The good news is, restoring hearing can help protect your cognitive function, and greatly improve one’s quality of life.
How Does Hearing Loss Affect The Brain?
When a person starts to lose their hearing, they are receiving less auditory input. The lack of auditory information being sent to the brain means that the brain needs to draw from more resources to process sound, which takes away from functions such as memory and learning. Scientific research has shown a connection between untreated loss and a more rapid rate of atrophy in the brain.
Untreated hearing loss contributes to cognitive decline in the following ways:
- Leads To Social Isolation
Constantly struggling to understand other people when they’re speaking is exhausting. One study showed that the brain cells of people with hearing loss became less active when they had to focus on complex sentences. Many people with hearing loss will become so tired of straining to participate in day-to-day conversations that they end up avoiding conversation altogether. When we don’t engage with those around us, critical regions of the brain are not challenged, and we become more susceptible to cognitive decline.
- Increases The Risk of Falls
When walking, we receive signals from our environment that help us maintain our balance. Hearing loss removes those signals and decreases our spatial awareness, making it harder for our brain to process auditory information in our environment. This makes it challenging to know where our body is in relation to objects around us, which is why hearing loss can also affect balance and gai. In fact, even those with only mild hearing loss are three times more likely to accidentally fall.
- Aggravates Alzheimer’s Symptoms
A recent study found that those with hearing loss were 24 percent more likely to have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. For a loved one suffering from this condition, uncorrected hearing loss can worsen their feelings of paranoia, confusion, and isolation from others. The cognitive load of listening, understanding, and replying to verbal cues is overwhelming, and diminishes the ability to retain and form new memories.
The Benefits Of Hearing Aids
A recent study showed that hearing aids appeared to delay the onset of cognitive decline, as well as dementia. Unfortunately, despite the prevalence of hearing loss, hearing aids are still very much underutilized. One of the reasons for this is the lack of access to affordable hearing aids. ZN Audiology in Brooklyn and Queens, New York is committed to providing patients access to top-of-the-line custom hearing aids and digital and bluetooth hearing aids at price points that patients can actually afford. Here are the cognitive and physical health benefits associated with a proper set of hearing aids.
- Hearing Aids Keep You Socially Connected
Hearing aids enable the hearing impaired to respond to verbal cues and uphold conversations just like they did before hearing loss, solving the problem of social isolation. When we are active, social, and maintaining important connections with friends and family, we are happier, healthier, and much less susceptible to depression.
- Hearing Aids Lower The Risk Of Falling
Hearing aids empower the wearer to distinguish subtle sounds in their environment, and the direction that they’re coming from. You may not have been able to hear your pet or loved one approaching you from behind before you got fitted with hearing aids, and thus, were caught by surprise and perhaps even thrown off balance. Hearing aids remove the element of surprise and dramatically reduce your chances of tripping over or running into things.
- Hearing Aids May Help Slow The Progression Of Dementia
The use of hearing aids likely counter the acceleration of cognitive decline. Why? By restoring communication abilities, restoring (or enhancing) social interactions, and enabling people to participate in cognitively-stimulating activities, overall quality of life and brain function is vastly improved.
If you’re having trouble hearing, don’t delay. Schedule an appointment with a certified audiologist at ZN Audiology. We have years of clinical experience providing audiological evaluations and affordable hearing aids for those with all types and degrees of hearing loss. At our patient-oriented practice, you can finally put your ‘affordable hearing aids near me’ searches to rest.
ZN Audiology is an independent, women-owned audiology practice that believes hearing health should be accessible to everyone. That’s why we provide everything from pediatric audiology to customized hearing aids at competitive prices. You can put your ‘affordable hearing aids near me’ searches to rest when you come to ZN Audiology. Our practice is conveniently located in Brooklyn and Queens, NY. If you would like to schedule a visit or have questions about our services, book an appointment online or call (718)-568-5227.