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Why Are People with Hearing Loss More Prone to Dementia?

an older patient cupping his hand to his ear to hear better

Dementia is a term that is used to describe conditions and diseases that are characterized by a decrease in problem-solving, language, memory and other thinking skills that have an influence on an individual’s ability to perform daily activities. An example of this would be memory loss. A lot of people think that Alzheimer’s and dementia are the same, yet Alzheimer’s is one of many types of dementia. 

When experiencing dementia, a person can experience several different symptoms. In this blog post, we are going to focus on the relationship between dementia and hearing loss in particular. There have been a number of different studies that have been carried out regarding the link between these two conditions. 

A change in brain function

In recent years, there has been research that has shown that there is a link between dementia and hearing issues. Researchers and experts have put forward a number of different reasons why this could be the case. The first is because of the change in brain function. The specific section of the brain that is in control of hearing and processing auditory information may begin working differently when the hearing part of the equation becomes strained or goes away, and this can result in alterations to the manner in which the brain is structured, which can be linked to the impact of dementia. 

Cognitive load

We must also speak about the cognitive load. This is a term that is used to describe the effort of continually straining in order to comprehend the stresses of the brain. This is something that makes a lot of sense. After all, if a lot of effort is put into simply understanding what you are hearing, then it would take resources that you would otherwise be using for encoding what you hear in memory. 

What other factors do we need to consider?

Another factor that experts have put forward is that hearing problems may impact the structure of the brain in a manner that results in cognitive issues. Brain imaging studies have revealed that older adults that have problems with their hearing do not have as much gray matter in the area of their brain that gets and processes sounds from your ears. This does not mean that you are necessarily losing brain cells.

Yet, when some brain cells do not get enough stimulation, their structures may shrink. Because of this, hearing devices are regularly recommended for people who are suffering from dementia. This is because a modern hearing device may enable these brain structures to recover to their previous function and size by sending clearer speech signals to the brain. This is something that is currently be debating by a lot of people in the industry. 

Another factor that does need to be touched upon is social isolation. This is a common factor for people experiencing dementia and cognitive decline. It is also something that tends to play a factor for people that are heard of hearing, as they tend to isolate themselves from others. This is why it is important to book an appointment with an audiologist. Not only can an audiologist help you to hear better but they can help you to get a bit of your life back, as you won’t feel as isolated anymore or that you need to miss out on social activities. 

Booking an appointment with an audiologist is a must

If you are experiencing hearing loss because of dementia, the best thing to do is book an appointment with an audiologist. They will be able to assess your hearing damage, and they will provide you with their assessment and help you to find the right hearing aid for your requirements. They will also make sure that the hearing aid fits correctly and that it has been programmed to suit you and the hearing loss you are experiencing. You also have the opportunity to ask any queries that you may have. 

Contact House of Hearing Audiology Clinic for more information

If you would like to find out more about the relationship between dementia and hearing loss, or you require any assistance when it comes to your hearing condition, all you need to do is give House of Hearing Audiology Clinic a call for more information. You can contact us at 208-505-9520. You will speak to a friendly and experienced team member who will be more than happy to assist you in any manner they can.