Today, with hearing loss on the rise in both younger people and aging adults, it’s time for us as a society to recognize the impact of untreated hearing loss. A variety of scientific studies have been performed over the past decade and longer, which produced results proving that hearing aids keep your brain healthy and may protect against cognitive decline.
It’s important to embrace hearing health in order to keep your cognitive function as you age. People who wear hearing aids for a number of different types and levels of hearing loss are statistically more capable of maintaining better brain function over time, compared to those who do not.
“Researchers report untreated hearing loss was associated with more hospitalizations, increased risk of 30-day hospital re-admission, increased risk of emergency department visits and longer hospital stays. Over a 10-year period, people with untreated hearing loss incurred an average of $22,000 more in health care costs than people without hearing loss,” according to a study performed by Audiologist, Nicholas Reed from Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
Hearing Aids Help Restore Hearing Capacity
Untreated and prolonged hearing loss is related to many different health problems, such as dementia, depression, feelings of isolation, diabetes, balance problems, heart disease, cardiovascular disease and more.
According to US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, “There is ample evidence linking hearing loss to changes in cognitive ability, particularly when listeners are faced with the task of understanding speech that is acoustically or linguistically challenging. Some 40–50% of adults over the age of 65 years have a measurable hearing impairment, with this figure rising to 83% of those over the age of 70 years. Beyond the obvious impediment to spoken communication, we have come to realize that there are also hidden effects of hearing loss that may have significant consequences for both cognitive function and neural integrity.”
Hearing Aids help combat the results of hearing loss related to cognitive brain function. In fact, new research from the University of Maryland (UMD) Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences (HESP) revealed that people with hearing loss who use hearing aids not only are able to restore their hearing capacity, but are also able to improve brain function and working memory.
What Happens to the Brain with Prolonged Hearing Loss & No Hearing Aids?
People with hearing loss that is left untreated experience hearing loss because the hearing nerves lose their ability to function and no longer channel sound signals to the brain. As a result, the brain essentially forgets how to process the sounds it can no longer “hear”. Over long periods of time, combined with increasing levels of hearing loss, the brain is unable to recognize those sounds.
As we mentioned previously, there are many medical studies supporting the connection between cognitive function and hearing loss. Studies have found that the brain’s ability to process sound is one of many things impacted by untreated hearing loss. Hearing loss does impact cognitive abilities and even result in early onset Dementia.
How Important is it to Treat Hearing Loss?
Do you feel safe doing things when you cannot see? Most of us would answer “No” and go see an eye doctor. If we have feelings of sickness, we see our primary care physician. If our teeth hurt, we see a dentist. But, if people notice a loss in their hearing abilities, they tend to wait a period of seven to ten years before seeing an Audiologist or Hearing Care Specialist. Even though hearing is one of our five senses of function as human beings, we just cannot accept hearing loss as a society. This must change!
It is vitally important for your brain to have your hearing tested. In order to keep your brain healthy as you age, you need to pay attention to your hearing healthcare and perhaps even accept that your own hearing loss requires hearing aids. Once patients accept their hearing loss and commit to improving their quality of life, hearing aids improve their lives and give them back sounds they may not have heard for years. The longer a person with untreated hearing loss waits to seek help, the more challenging it can be to hear missing sounds again. Working to reactivate the portions of the brain that re-learns sounds is harder the longer the sounds have been missing.
Hearing Loss Help in Rhode Island
Physicians Hearing Solutions has been working to provide expert-level hearing healthcare services to the Rhode Island community for over 20 years! Our team of hearing health professionals includes Audiologists, ENTs (Otolaryngologists), Laryngologists, National Board-Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist and an array of clinical support staff. Our offices always offer free hearing screenings to scheduled patients in an effort to support monitoring your hearing healthcare. Remember, just because you are experiencing hearing troubles, does not mean you necessarily have hearing loss, it could be just wax build-up! Call our office today to schedule your free annual hearing screening (401) 921-0181 | www.PHSDOCS.com