Hearing loss is something that will happen to everyone at some point. It affects how you communicate and how you function every day. Most people think that all older adults will get hearing loss and that there is nothing that can be done about it but this is not true. Doctors are now warning that people should pay more attention to hearing loss in adults.
According to some recent studies, hearing can also affect your memory! This is possible in four major ways.
A Common Enemy
The most obvious is a common physiological pathway that contributes to both hearing loss and cognitive decline — something like high blood pressure, for instance. High blood pressure affects both hearing AND memory. The problem with this concept is that most doctors and researchers take this into account when doing their research, so not many doctors give this explanation much credit
This concept makes more sense!
It says that if you are putting a lot of effort just to comprehend what you’re hearing, it takes resources that would otherwise be available for in memory. In simpler terms, when you have trouble hearing, your brain has less energy to process things. That energy you use to try to hear is being pulled away from your brain!
By taking pictures of your brain, doctors have found that the cells in your brain shrink and sometimes disappear from people with hearing loss. Brain imaging studies show that adults with hearing loss have less grey matter in the part of their brain that receives and processes sound from the ears.
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Even more, than that, hearing loss also leads to social isolation because it is harder to carry a conversation and the embarrassment of hearing loss can be overwhelming. This causes people with hearing loss to pull away from family and friends. However, social isolation is also linked to losing brain function. So it is crucial to keep in touch and contact with family and friends that suffer hearing loss. It can really help maintain their brains active and healthy.
It will take a lot more research to determine the real effects of hearing loss on memory. However, it is important because this could lead to a real cure and solution for people who have dementia. Many doctors have procured funding that they can study these things more efficiently.
The good news is that there are ways to halt your hearing loss. Using a hearing aid is directly linked to improved brain function. By studying adults who used hearing aids and adults who did not, doctors and scientists were able to see that those without hearing aids suffered the most memory loss. However, those who used hearing aids have retained more memory function.
It just makes more sense to take care of your ears the best that you possibly can. Talk to your doctor about the most defective hearing loss prevention techniques and help.