Happy senior fending off Alzheimer's by treating his hearing loss.

 

2020 marks a new year and a new decade, which means it’s the perfect time to make a big resolution. If you’re wondering what resolution can make a big impact – and not necessarily require a lot of effort – we’ve got you covered. Preserving your mental acuity through better hearing is one resolution that can pay dividends for you later on in life.

Let’s be clear: there are several ways that you can preserve your mental acuity and stave off conditions like cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Staying social is one of the most important while engaging in the workforce appears to be another. No matter the method, though, treating hearing loss through hearing aids makes these activities much easier and contributes in its own way to battling cognitive issues.

Many studies show that the conditions listed above are all linked to hearing loss. What follows is a look at why hearing loss can cause serious issues with your mental health and how solutions like hearing aids can help you keep your brain functioning at a higher level for a longer period of time.

How Hearing Loss Contributes to Cognitive Decline

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have conducted numerous studies over the years to examine the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline. The results of each study told the same story: people with hearing loss suffered from dementia and cognitive decline in higher rates than those without. In fact, one study showing that people with hearing loss were 24% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those with healthy hearing.

Hearing loss by itself does not cause dementia, but there is a link between the two conditions. The leading theories suggest that your brain must work overtime when you can’t properly process sounds. That means your brain is spending more precious energy on relatively simple tasks, leaving a lot less of that energy for more complicated processes like memory or cognitive functions.

Hearing loss can also have a severe impact on your mental health. Studies have shown that hearing loss is linked to depression, social isolation, anxiety, and may even affect schizophrenia. All of these conditions also lead to cognitive decline – as noted above, one of the best ways to preserve your mental acuity is to stay socially active. In many cases, hearing loss causes people to feel self-conscious out in public, which means they’ll turn to isolation instead. The lack of human contact can lead to the other mental health issues listed above and eventually lead to cognitive impairments.

How a Hearing Aid Can Help You Keep Your Resolution

Hearing aids are perhaps one of the best tools we have to preserve mental acuity and fight conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The problem is that only one out of seven of the nearly 27 million Americans over the age of 50 who suffer from hearing loss actually use a hearing aid. It could be a stigma or a previous bad experience that keeps people from hearing aids, but the fact is that they are proven to help people hear better and retain their cognitive functions for longer periods of time.

When your hearing is damaged for a prolonged amount of time, the brain may forget how to recognize some everyday sounds and will have to learn them all over again. A hearing aid can either prevent that scenario from happening in the first place or assist you in relearning those sounds, which will allow your brain to focus on other, more important tasks.

Ready to make a resolution for 2020 that will stick? Contact a hearing specialist near you and schedule a consultation today to find out what options are available to help you start hearing better in this decade and beyond.

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