The Significance of Hearing Aids for Your Brain Health

04/27/2022 | Hearing Aids, Hearing Loss, Patient Resources, The Brain and Hearing Health

Hearing Aids for Your Brain Health

It’s a common fact that aging can cause hearing loss, but it’s not so well known that an untreated hearing loss can cause cognitive decline.

But there’s good news too – hearing treatment can delay or prevent the onset of cognitive decline and even reverse it.

Cognitive Decline And Hearing Loss

With predictions of the US having more than 131 million people affected by dementia by 2050, it is encouraging to see more studies underway on its causes and prevention.

One of the causes of cognitive decline is hearing loss, and the percentage of people with hearing loss grows significantly with age.

  • People > 65 = 30 to 60% with a hearing loss
  • People > 85 = 70 to 90% with a hearing loss

One study says that about 9% of people with cognitive decline can trace it back to their hearing loss.

Sadly, one in three of those with hearing loss will avoid or delay treatment, thereby increasing the risk of developing cognitive decline.

The Importance of Early Hearing Treatment

One of the most interesting aspects of all these studies is that the highest rate of hearing loss-related cognitive decline is in those whose hearing loss started in mid-life – those in the 45 to 64 age bracket.

Early hearing treatment is so crucial to a person’s cognitive health and other long-term outcomes, so be aware of the early signs of hearing loss, such as hearing words mumbled or needing to have them repeated, and come see us if they show up.

 First Step in Preventing Cognitive Decline

Reversing Cognitive Decline

About one-third of people with cognitive decline can reverse or at least delay the decline by implementing a healthier lifestyle and diet, yearly hearing wellness checks and treatment, and daily brain stimulation activities.

One of the largest studies done to date on the ability of hearing treatment to delay dementia was carried out in Australia.

According to their 2020 report: 18 months after wearing hearing aids 60 to 90% of the time, “29.7% of participants showed an improvement in executive function, 67.6% remained unchanged, and 2.7% worsened.”

While we can’t say that wearing hearing aids will automatically prevent, delay, or reverse dementia, we can say that about 30% of wearers will have improved executive function and about 68% will not have further cognitive decline.

This is not just because the hearing parts of the brain are sparked back to life. Lots of factors come into play when you get your hearing back to a level where you can communicate again at home and at work.

The ability to communicate and hear more clearly means a person will have:

  • More social interactions

  • More physical activity

  • Better physical health

  • Reduced depression and anxiety

  • Fewer feelings of loneliness

All of this contributes to a slower, or halted, rate of cognitive decline.

The Australia study concludes: “The results of this study suggest that it may be possible, through early identification and appropriate management of hearing loss, to enjoy living to a greater age, free of dementia.”

Let Holland Hearing Center Help You Prevent Cognitive Decline

The first step is to book your hearing test so we can evaluate every aspect of your hearing health, and we’ll share the results immediately after the test is done.

If you have no hearing loss, we’ll have your test results on record to compare to any future tests. If you do have hearing loss, we’ll discuss all your options with you and answer all your questions.

If you or a loved one suspects hearing loss, please don’t delay having your hearing tested and treated. The earlier you treat it, the fewer the repercussions down the road.

Contact us with any questions you have and we’ll be happy to share our years of expertise and wisdom with you about hearing health.

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Dr. Kelsi Mangrem AU.D, FAAA

Dr. Kelsi Mangrem received her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, as well as her Doctorate of Audiology from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). Whether a patient, employee, or industry colleague, the philosophy of service to others resonates throughout her character.

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