Dementia and Your Ears
You do not hear with your ears. Your ears are merely an appendage to collect sound and direct it to your brain where the sound is processed, sorted, filtered and deciphered so you are able to understand the world around you. As processing, sorting and filtering becomes increasingly more difficult, your ability to understand is negatively correlated as comprehension decreases.
Individuals with hearing loss show a 40% accelerated rate of cognitive decline (Frank Lin, MD., Ph.D., Johns Hopkins). With significant to profound the hearing loss, there is a greater the likelihood of developing a cognitive disorder and the steeper decline in mental function. Even those with a very mild hearing loss (even before the hearing loss becomes noticeable), these individuals show accelerated rates of gray matter shrinkage in the brain.
Johnathan Pelle at the University of Pennsylvania state, “As hearing ability declines, hearing aids should be seriously considered not only to improve hearing, but to preserve the brain.” (Science Daily) The Lancet, in 2017, published the findings of a study conducted by twenty-four international researchers who identified nine risk factors for dementia. Hearing loss is the highest contributing factor for developing dementia.
Lack of regular social interactions leads to mental stagnation and deterioration. It takes a great deal of extra effort and concentrated listening for those with hearing loss to comprehend what is happening around them.
This creates a significant strain on the brain (cognitive overload) and interferes with normal cognitive function. In addition, hearing loss causes individuals to withdraw socially as it becomes a burden and a barrier to meaningful connection to friends and family.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Get a baseline hearing test and brain processing evaluation now. If you have any problems hearing or understanding those in your life, seek out help and treatment immediately.
Dr. Ronna Fisher, Au.D.
Founder & President
Hearing Health Center, Inc.