When we think about prioritizing our health, we don’t just mean our physical health, anymore. Research has shown that taking care of our cognitive and mental health is just as important as taking care of our physical health.
If you experience hearing loss, one important step you can take to protect your cognitive and mental health is to use hearing aids. Multiple studies have shown a correlation between hearing loss and a higher risk of dementia, cognitive decline, depression and anxiety.
What the Research Says
- A 2011 study found that over the course of 10 years the risk of dementia increased for those with hearing loss as opposed to those with normal hearing. The risk became greater the more severe the hearing loss. Those with mild, moderate and severe hearing loss were twice, three times, and five times more likely to develop dementia, respectively.
- Another study of adults aged 76 to 85, found participants with mild hearing loss had a 32% higher risk of anxiety. For those with moderate to severe hearing loss, the number jumped to 59%.
- A study done at the University of Michigan examined the association between hearing aids and dementia, as well as anxiety or depression. They looked at data from 114,862 adults who had been diagnosed with hearing loss within the last three years. They found participants who used hearing aids were 18% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia, and 11% less likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression.
Why Does Hearing Loss Impact Cognitive and Mental Health
Though the exact cause is unknown, there are several theories as to why hearing loss affects cognitive and mental health. It could be that the extra effort the brain has to put in to comprehend sound during hearing loss is taxing and affects memory and concentration.
People with hearing loss may also withdraw from social interactions because they worry that they can’t follow conversations. This sort of isolation has been shown to contribute to depression and accelerate cognitive decline and dementia.
Hearing aids can help you maintain your connection to the world around you. Whether at work, family picnics, or dining with friends at Char Restaurant, hearing aids give you the ability to stay engaged and find joy with those around you.
If you are concerned about your hearing loss, take control of your physical and mental health by calling Northern Alabama ENT today to schedule an appointment.