Did you know that September marks World Alzheimer’s Month? This global initiative raises awareness about dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Disease International, an estimated 55 million people live with dementia worldwide. This is expected to significantly increase, reaching 139 million people by 2050.
Dementia is an umbrella term that encompasses a range of medical conditions marked by cognitive decline. This includes Parkinson’s, Lewy Body, and Huntington’s which progressively deteriorate brain health. The most common type is Alzheiemr’s which impacts up to 70% of people with dementia. There are no cures for dementia so significant emphasis is placed on prevention. Extensive research shows that hearing loss is a risk factor for cognitive decline and that treating hearing loss can actually help protect the brain.
Link Between Hearing Loss & Cognitive Decline
Substantial research shows that there is a significant link between hearing loss and cognitive decline. A recent study that investigates this correlation was published in 2019 in the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. To evaluate the impact of hearing loss on cognitive health, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School assessed 10,107 people. Researchers evaluate the cognitive and hearing capacities of these participants, ages 62 and older, over 8 years. They found that people with hearing loss were much more likely to experience cognitive decline.
Compared to people without hearing loss, cognitive decline among those with hearing loss:
- 30% higher among people with mild hearing loss
- 42% higher among people with moderate hearing loss
- 54% higher among people with severe hearing loss
This data reveals two important findings: hearing loss significantly increased the risk of cognitive decline and the severity of hearing loss further increases that risk. This study supports much research that identifies hearing loss as a risk for cognitive decline. Treating hearing loss can help prevent cognitive decline and the development of conditions like Alzheimer’s.
Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss
Fortunately, there are effective ways hearing loss is treated that reduce health risks and protect brain health. Hearing aids, electronic devices that process speech and sound, are the most common treatment. This offers countless benefits including the following:
- Enhances communication: hearing aids alleviate hearing loss symptoms and increase capacity to hear. This makes it easier to engage in conversations, allowing people to be more at ease and present. People are better able to readily participate in conversations without the barrier of symptoms. Hearing aids make it easier to have conversations and interact with others across all environments.
- Strengthens relationships: strengthens communication improves relationships. Hearing aids provide ample support that enable people to have conversations and spend quality time more comfortably. People can participate in everyday activities with loved ones and have unrestricted conversations which supports connection, improving relationships.
- Improves health: hearing aids reduce various health risks including depressive symptoms, accidental injuries, and cognitive decline. Hearing aids provide significant support with processing sound, supporting cognitive functions and boosting brain health. This reduces the risk of developing conditions like Alzheimer’s.
These benefits transform health and quality of life. Treating hearing loss supports people to live fully and more happily.
Prioritize Your Hearing Health Today
World Alzheimer’s Month is a great invitation to prioritize your hearing health. This only requires you scheduling an appointment for a hearing test. Hearing tests involve a painless and noninvasive process that measures hearing capacities in both ears. This process identifies any hearing loss and the degree of impairment you could be experiencing. Once your hearing needs are established, your hearing healthcare provider is able to tailor treatment that effectively meets those needs.
Hearing aids are the most common treatment for hearing loss. A common misconception about hearing aids is that these are bulky and unappealing devices that are only worn by older adults. But today’s hearing aids are sleeker and more advanced than ever before. There is an array of options, styles, and technologies that enhance everyday life. Hearing aids are wearable technology that support hearing in all environments. This provides countless benefits that truly enhance quality of life.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation. Our practice offers comprehensive services, individualized care, and ongoing support that is invested in transforming hearing health and wellness.