June is Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month. That puts a spotlight on Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia and gives us the opportunity to discuss the link between your hearing and your memory. Although the exact cause and effect relationship between hearing loss and memory issues is unknown, we do know that there is a connection. We don’t hear with only our ears; it is our brains that actually process sounds so that we can understand them. Therefore, the deprivation of auditory information due to hearing loss can carry negative implications for the brain.
Several theories exist surrounding why hearing loss affects brain functions, including:
- Change in Brain Function
- Cognitive Load
- Social Isolation
- Yet To Be Discovered Cause
Many people with hearing loss think that the only consequence of not seeking treatment is not being able to hear properly. However, there are multiple side effects that may arise from untreated hearing loss. Research from John Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging and several other studies completed in recent years has uncovered the following data points:
- The longer hearing loss goes untreated, the greater the chances that your brain can begin to forget how to interpret sounds and speech. Several different studies over the past several years have all pointed to the same results.
- Study participants who had hearing loss had higher rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
- People with hearing loss had a 24% higher chance of having Alzheimer’s.
- The more profound the hearing loss was, the greater the chance of developing dementia.
The evidence is compelling, and encouraging for individuals noticing hearing difficulties to seek treatment early. Seeking appropriate hearing aids and using them on a consistent basis can make a significant difference in how the brain functions, for the better. Fortunately, improving hearing aid technology over time has proven to give the auditory system and the brain better and better information with which to work.
Come in and See What Family Audiology Has to Offer
If you are not hearing as well as you used to, then it is important for you to get your hearing checked. Stop in and have a chat with us. We’re here to help you hear! Family Audiology is committed to better hearing and committed to you! Contact us today and schedule an appointment.