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Hearing Loss and Cognitive Disorders

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It's very well known that as we age, things get a little shaky. Our cognitive ability begins to decline, and for most people, this is something rather mild. For others, this drop in cognitive ability is more dangerous. Typical issues that signify a decline in cognitive ability include taking longer to learn new things, forgetful behavior, forgetting smaller details and difficulty concentrating. On top of that, hearing loss is common, too. The good news, though, is that there is more information out there about the link between your brain health and your hearing.

Hearing loss and cognitive impairment

Plenty of studies have been conducted on the connection between hearing loss and your cognitive development, which is why many scientists and doctors ask whether untreated hearing loss causes dementia. The natural conclusion that some people come to is that you can prevent it with hearing aids; though it's a difficult question to answer. Back in 2016, a study was done, and it found that up to 57% of people had a higher risk of cognitive impairment than those who had normal hearing, and the same study showed that hearing aids did not make a difference to cognitive impairment; nor did it reduce the risk. Hearing loss may be a common part of the aging process, but for some, it's a sign that there is something more serious going on.

Age-related hearing loss

There are two types of hearing loss that is related to age, and your audiologist can explain them both in the greatest of detail. These are:

1.    Peripheral hearing loss

2.    Central hearing loss

Central hearing loss is caused by the brain's impaired ability to process sound. A research study in Italy examined both types of hearing loss, and it showed that people with central hearing loss had a higher risk of cognitive impairment compared to those with no hearing loss. With central hearing loss, you cannot comprehend the meaning of the sounds that you hear. Studies have shown that those who have lower scores on a speech comprehension test also have lower thinking and memory skills.

What's the connection between hearing loss and cognitive disorders?

One of the main possibilities here is that the issues are related to problems in the temporal cortex of the brain. This is where executive function and language take place, as well as sound perception. It's been found that hearing loss and mild cognitive impairment both involve the death of neurons in the brain. If you are older than 65, it's essential to book an appointment with your audiologist as they will be able to test your hearing perception. Both types of hearing loss are associated with cognitive decline, and if you have hearing aids in, you can prevent hearing impairment, which could reduce the onset of neurodegeneration.

Dementia or cognitive impairment?

Many people worry that their future is in with dementia because memory issues categorize cognitive impairment, language problems, trouble thinking and issues with judgment that is more than what natural aging gives you. Hearing loss leads to problems with depression and isolation in social circumstances, and this can exacerbate the decline in cognitive ability.  Understanding how hearing loss is associated with dementia is essential, and when there are difficulties with hearing, noisy environments feel impossible. MRI scans and studies have previously brought to light that those who are dealing with hearing loss use parts of their brain that are beyond their auditory cortex. So, hearing loss is affecting the brain, which leads to a faster decline in the volume of it.

Other conditions linked to hearing loss

Dementia isn't the only condition related to hearing loss. There are a lot of different conditions out there that are a worry, including:

•    Diabetes

•    Depression

•    Heart disease

•    Kidney disease

Our hearing affects the brain, and if we don't keep our brains and our bodies as stimulated as possible, we could see a faster decline. Maintaining an active and happy social life is vital, and good hearing health is essential for this. With studies showing that the proper use of hearing aids will lower your risk factors for dementia, then an appointment with an audiologist is going to be vital.

When it comes to your hearing health, you can never be too careful. Speak to an audiologist about your hearing loss and learn more about Hearing Solution Center by calling this phone number: 704-912-4422. You'll never regret getting your hearing loss sorted sooner than later.