Nobody wants to lose their hearing.Tinnitus TerminatorMany times people associate hearing loss with being old, which no one wants to be let alone look. This is one reason why those who have hearing problems and are over the age of 50 do not want to wear hearing aids. They feel that if they have to wear hearing instruments then that is admitting they are old and also tells everyone else that they are old too. But by not taking care of your hearing loss, you may be setting yourself up for other debilitating ailments; maybe even Alzheimer’s disease.
A number of studies have shown that hearing loss not only exacerbates the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia, but may also be an important risk factor. One such study done in the 1980s found that 83 percent of the 30 patients diagnosed with senile dementia also suffered from a significant hearing loss, which is higher than normally expected for that age group. And once treated with hearing aids, 33 percent of those suffering with memory and hearing loss actually had improved cognitive function and a less severe degree of dementia. And it has also been shown in studies that the ability to communicate improves in those suffering from dementia when they are tested and then fitted with hearing aids.
But is there a link between hearing loss and Alzheimer’s disease? Well, if you suffer from impaired hearing you may be withdrawn from social situations due to the embarrassment of not being able to properly communicate with your friends or family. In turn, this type of social isolation can lead to depression, which is a risk factor in itself for acquiring dementia. And a study by the National Council of Aging was published confirming this stating that “untreated hearing loss is linked to not only depression, but also anxiety and social isolation.”
What comes as a surprise to many people is that hearing actually occurs in the brain…not the ears. A significant portion of the brain is utilized in processing the auditory information received from the inner ear. It has been widely publicized that doing crossword puzzles can help to stimulate the mind. But that is not the only way. Input from hearing also stimulates our brains to process and comprehend the world around us.