Until recently, hearing loss was considered an isolated and relatively inconsequential side effect of the aging process. Now, scientists have uncovered a distinct link between hearing loss and the onset of dementia in the brain, which raises important considerations for a significant portion of the US population living with this common condition.
Uncovering the Link Between Hearing Loss and Dementia
Hearing loss is an issue that tens of millions of Americans have to live with on a daily basis. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that the condition may indicate an increased risk of developing dementia, including associated conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease. The issue especially affects the elderly, and the bulk of the research is centered on the hypothesis that hearing loss accelerates the loss of brain tissue in older adults.
How Hearing Loss Potentially Leads to Dementia
The ears and the brain are actually very closely integrated, as the ear canals are merely pathways that transmit vibrations to the brain where they can be interpreted as sounds. So while the ears provide the gateway, it’s actually the brain that’s doing the hearing.
In light of this information, it makes sense that hearing loss can have a significant effect on the cognitive functions of the brain; the reduction of auditory capacity actually disrupts the organization of the brain tissue related to hearing. Additionally, as the brain focuses more attention on trying to discern sounds in people suffering from hearing loss, it reduces the capacity of the brain to perform other necessary functions.
Reducing the Risk of Dementia Through Treating Hearing Loss
This new research may sound frightening for people living with hearing loss, but the other aspect of this development is that it presents an opportunity for early diagnosis and the possible prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s from developing quickly. Now that the link has been discovered, researchers are beginning to turn their attention towards studies that will show how treating hearing loss can reduce the risks of cognitive dementia. Although more studies are needed, medical experts agree that eliminating untreated hearing loss in this country is a priority.
If you feel that you may be suffering from hearing loss and are concerned about the link to dementia, schedule a free consultation with the experts at a U.S.Hearing Solutions center near you. The hearing specialists at U.S. Hearing Solutions perform a hearing test on you and discuss many potential treatment options if you are suffering from hearing loss, and every one of our Audibel hearing aids comes with a lifetime service warranty. Find a location near you today!