The Healthy Ear
When we take care of our ears, we take care of ourselves
Does delayed treatment lead to dementia?
Many seniors experience hearing loss – it’s one of the most common conditions affecting older adults. Yet, only 25 percent of people who need hearing aids get them. And on average, seniors wait seven years to seek treatment. Studies show that delaying addressing hearing loss can lead to a significant decline in cognitive function.
When hearing loss occurs, over time, areas of the brain devoted to other senses will take over the portion that processes hearing. As the hearing areas of the brain become weaker, the ability to process sound is then reduced, impacting the ability to understand speech. And when the hearing areas of the brain shrink in age-related hearing loss – centers of the brain that are typically used for higher-level decision-making – are then activated in just hearing sounds. These compensatory changes increase the overall load on the brains of aging adults, and may explain the correlation between hearing loss and dementia.
Knowing that the brain begins to reorganize itself even in the early stages of hearing loss means checking your hearing and early intervention can help prevent long-term cognitive decline. That’s one reason why healthcare professionals encourage anyone who notices any diminished hearing to get their hearing checked. You can make an appointment for a free hearing assessment at one of our facilities by calling 855-MYHEARING.
Developing Social Isolation
Feeling isolated? Change back into a social butterfly
When people let hearing impairments go untreated, they can lose touch with others. The quality of their lives can suffer due to emotional turmoil and insecurity related to diminished social stimuli. This is especially true among seniors, who may have less social activity than they did as working adults or when they had their children living with them. Plus, the elderly who live alone are more prone to experience depression, anxiety and mild paranoia associated with social isolation.
When hearing loss is treated, the world brightens. Most people who wear hearing aids report significant improvement in their quality of life. Much like getting new glasses, life gets more clear with improved hearing. The benefits of hearing better may include:
- Better relationships with family
- Greater independence
- Improved self-confidence
- Increase in socially engagement