According to recent studies, we hear with our brains and not with our ears. However, our ears serve as a terminal for sound waves to pass through and reach our auditory nerves. Then this sound is identified by our brain. But, if you have hearing loss, the cognitive function of your brain drops, which can even lead to dementia.
Hearing Loss Affects Our Cognitive Functions
When a person acquires hearing loss, his or her senses are altered. Once this occurs, the brain needs to reorganize and adjust. Hearing loss increases the atrophy of the auditory cortex’s gray matter (GM). This gray matter contains regions of the brain responsible for muscle control, decision-making, emotions, self-control, speech, memory, and sensory perception, such as hearing and seeing.
Untreated hearing loss will result in a declining amount of the gray matter in the auditory areas, giving our brain less hearing activity, thus affecting our cognitive functions. When our brain no longer receives nerve impulses from the sounds that we hear, its ability to function declines. When our brain’s functionality decreases, it leads to poor memory which can even result in dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Other Ways Hearing Loss Causes Dementia
If you have untreated hearing loss, you will strain yourself too much just to hear properly, which puts so much stress on your brain. This is also called cognitive load and affects not only your brain but overall mental and physical health. Some people with hearing loss prefer to isolate themselves not knowing that isolation only increases dementia risk.
Hearing Aids Help
If dementia is caused as a result of hearing loss, it can be prevented. Studies show that hearing aids delay dementia development in an individual especially in adults. It stimulates brain activity allowing more neural connections hence, ensuring that our brain functions proactively.
Treat Your Hearing Loss
When you notice that you are experiencing even the earliest signs of hearing loss, consult your audiologist at once. Do not delay hearing loss treatment. The earlier you treat your hearing loss, the lesser you become prone to dementia development. After your diagnosis, your hearing healthcare professional will recommend what hearing aid is best for you.
Always remember that our hearing is more than just a way for us to connect with the world. Protecting our hearing is similar to protecting our memory or cognitive functions. It is one way for us to prevent speedy brain atrophy and allow us to enjoy life better and live to the fullest. Imagine life without memory, wouldn’t it be disheartening if we can no longer recognize the people we love?
Protect your brain and hearing now. Allow Beltone Audiology to assist you with your hearing problems and improve your cognitive function. Call us now at (888) 210-5846 and schedule a free hearing consultation!