A connection between the risks of dementia has been recently linked to the loss of hearing and other cognitive abilities. Recent studies conducted by Dr. Frank Lin from Johns Hopkins University revealed that patients with hearing loss had a much higher risk of dementia. Through studying how the peripheral function hearing affects the brain, researchers believe that the use of hearing aids may be able to help fight dementia. Further long-term clinical studies are underway to study at-risk patients.
Read on to learn more about this and how to fight dementia with hearing aids.
What is the Connection Between Hearing and Cognitive Decline?
Studies have lead researchers to believe that hearing loss may contribute to cognitive problems and dementia since the area of the brain that is associated with hearing is in the same region associated with early onset of Alzheimer's. Dr. Lin believes that one possibility where hearing loss may contribute to cognitive decline in a few different ways:
· Cognitive overloading
· Loss of grey matter
· Social isolation
Cognitive overloading is when a person strains to listen,they begin to overwork parts of the brain and the area that processes auditory information in turn, begins to shrink.
Another possibility could be in relation to the loss of grey matter associated with long-term hearing loss. Research on brain scan studies found diminished grey matter in people who had hearing loss for over six years, and the lost matter was highly associatedin regions that are responsible for spoken language and memory.
Social isolation was also considered as a risk factor - a situation very common among those with hearing loss. This poses a likelihood that treating hearing loss more aggressively could help combat cognitive decline and dementia.
How Hearing Aids Can Help
When a person begins to use a hearing aid, the area that processes the auditory information begins to receive more sound signals. Researchers believe this can lead to:
· Stimulate brain growth
· Stimulate neural connections
· Help the brain recover from deteriorating brain mass
Studies are currently being conducted to test the results of hearing aids on adults versus those without treatment.
It will however, take years for the final research results to be released. New funding was received to help develop a trial that will track cognitive functions in participants with an estimated result date of 2020.
In the meantime, it is recommended to have any hearing loss adequately treated. Hearing aids are already an effective means to helping improve one’s ability to converse with ease, along with enhancing safety and performance at work.
So if you or someone you love is suffering from hearing loss, don’t avoid the situation any longer. With a simple hearing aid, they can improve their quality of life and help keep their cognitive abilities strong to lower the risk of dementia. Contact Hear Fine to book your free hearing test or learn about our special promos!