As we all get older, most of us experience changes in how well we hear. You may notice an older family member turning up the TV volume. Or asking you to repeat something. Recent studies have tied hearing loss that goes untreated with an increased likelihood of dementia.
A mild loss of hearing is the equivalent of seven additional years of aging. By not hearing as well as you could, changes in nerve cell connectivity can take place. You may also experience social isolation. Or feel overloaded as your brain tries to compensate to process the auditory stimuli that you do hear.
Those with hearing loss are more likely to develop cognitive problems and dementia than those without hearing loss, reported a decade ago in a 2011 study in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA). That has since been verified by several other studies. It’s not yet known if hearing loss causes dementia or vice versa.
Recent studies indicate that for those with hearing loss, hearing aids appear to prevent or delay cognitive decline and the onset of dementia. The parts of the brain responsible for auditory response shrink when hearing loss occurs. So hearing instruments allow the brain to still receive those signals.
If you suspect that your hearing is changing or that you’re not understanding or remembering things like you used to, a cognition screening may be in order to help protect cognitive skills as aging continues. The screening can be preformed by a primary care physician or audiologist.
At BeeHive Homes, our caregivers help make life better for the seniors who reside in our assisted living homes across New Mexico. We love the residents we care for and want to help make sure their health and well-being is top priority.