If you have healthy hearing, congratulations! It’s a valuable asset that shouldn’t be taken for granted. In fact, now is the time to take appropriate measures to protect your hearing whenever and wherever possible.
Now, just for a moment, put yourself in the shoes of someone who has hearing loss.
Have you ever been in a crowded room or noisy restaurant where it was difficult to hear? Maybe you had to strain to hear what your companion was saying next to you. Or, maybe you were trying to concentrate on some work while you were using the Wi-Fi at a café during the lunch hour. Either way, you may have felt a sense of mental or physical fatigue afterward.
This is how individuals with hearing loss feel every day. The act of constantly straining to hear tires the brain very quickly. In turn, there is less energy or brainpower available for other brain functions, such as cognitive skills or memory.
Hearing aids and dementia
The connection between hearing loss and dementia, or other cognitive disorders, has long been a topic for research studies. Last year, the University of Exeter in England released the results of an online study they conducted on 25,000 people over age 50. They looked at people with hearing loss, how they addressed their impairment, and the cognitive conditions of each. The subjects were organized into two study groups – one comprised of individuals who used hearing aids for hearing loss treatment, and the other with individuals who were simply living with hearing loss.
After two years of cognitive testing, the data was analyzed. The results were helpful, but not surprising. The hearing-impaired individuals who did not seek hearing loss treatment performed more poorly on memory, cognition, and attention tasks than their hearing aid wearing counterparts. The general consensus of the University of Exeter researchers was that wearing hearing aids could help mitigate hearing loss as a risk factor for dementia and/or other cognitive disorders.
Appropriate hearing aid use
The results of the study give hearing aid users an important reason to wear their hearing aids … as if hearing better wasn’t a big enough reason! But, simply wearing them may not be enough.
Hearing aids should be periodically adjusted to ensure that they are meeting the needs of the wearer. And, regular hearing aid maintenance should be practiced to make sure they’re clean and functioning as intended.
If you have any concerns about your hearing, or if you would simply like to have a baseline hearing test, schedule an appointment with your audiologist as soon as possible. Your hearing is too precious to take for granted!
Read the full story here.