Can Hearing Aids Prevent Dementia?
Definitely, Possibly - well, The Jury is Still Out
There are many studies that have linked untreated hearing loss to a higher risk of developing various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. At present the links are of correlative quality, which is important to understand. There is a strong correlation between untreated hearing loss and dementia. It simply means where there is one, it seems that there is a high possibility of another. It doesn't prove a direct link or a causative link such as one definitely causing the other.
A Good Theory Though, and Here's Why
It is a plausible theory though and it's based on the following: an inability to hear and process language normally forces you to strain or expend extra effort for comprehension. This uses more of your cognitive (brain’s) resources away from other activities like general thought (cognition) and memory. It's also proven that not being able to hear well makes people withdraw from socializing with others, which leads to isolation and possibly depression, which is known to contribute to dementia.
We suspect that there may be a direct link between hearing loss and dementia but if it exists it hasn't yet been identified. However, whatever the mechanisms that are involved, most people in the field agree that treating hearing loss can only be a positive step toward avoiding the onset of dementia.
Why hearing aids May make a difference
There are many studies underway at present to determine whether hearing aids can actually help people avoid developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. At this point there is some evidence that wearing hearing aids helps people continue to function well as they age. Hearing aid wearers tend to remain quite active intellectually, physically, and socially. That activity has a direct positive effect on general overall health and mental acuity. Lets look at that a little closer.
Being able to hear well reduces your cognitive load which makes it easier to process and remember new information. This helps you to feel confident going out and interacting with your environment and other people. This level of activity helps to stimulate your brain. Your brain likes stimulation. Just like exercise for your body, lifelong learning and stimulation keeps your brain healthy and strong.
The Physical Difference
Your hearing is linked to your balance and spatial senses. It's been proven that hearing well helps you to avoid falls. If you're confident in your balance, you're likely to stay active, exercise, and stay in shape. This is essential for your general health, which in turn is vital for healthy blood flow and maintenance of your mental sharpness. Again, cardiovascular disease and other vascular conditions are known contributors to dementia.
The Social Difference
When you can't hear well, you tend to feel left out of things. In fact sometimes, people converse around you or don’t repeat themselves when you miss something they said because it takes too much energy. Normally, this type of problem leads to you just avoiding the situation, but this lack of regular human interaction puts you at higher risk of developing dementia. Hearing aids can give you the confidence and ability to fully participate in in social situations once again.
It's too soon for us to say that wearing hearing aids will help you avoid the cognitive decline that leads to dementia. However, all of the information we have definitely points to the fact that treating hearing loss is a good idea and a good investment in your future. For more information, call us at 1-440-248-4790 or book your appointment online now