While Halloween is rapidly approaching, many people are looking to avoid scary stories in their everyday lives as much as possible. With an overload of scary thoughts brought upon by the season, most people are looking to eliminate drama and keep this October stress-free. One of the frightening issues that have crept into relevance this year has been hearing loss. With a sharp increase in the number of hearing loss cases reported this year, many are hoping this affliction does not surprise them for Halloween.
Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the US, currently affecting over 50 million Americans. Certain conditions such as age, past illnesses, and genetics can significantly impact your chances of hearing loss. With so many recently reported cases of hearing loss, many doctors are saying prevention is the best way to keep your hearing long term. But is what you are experiencing the side-effects of hearing loss? Should you seek professional help? Should you get a hearing aid?
The short answer to these questions is, yes. People with hearing loss that don’t use hearing aids have a much higher risk of dementia, depression, and cognitive decline. Luckily, we have outlined how these possible side effects take form and what you can expect if you fail to treat your hearing loss.
With untreated hearing loss, the brain gets overworked by constantly straining and adjusting to understand various speech and sound patterns. An overworked brain doesn’t work as efficiently as a well-rested one.
Cognitive decline usually occurs as a natural symptom of aging, but adults with hearing loss tend to lose brain mass at a faster rate than those individuals with better hearing.
The good news about cognitive decline as a result of hearing loss is that it is treatable. Studies have shown that people with hearing loss who did use hearing aids experienced cognitive decline at a rate similar to people without hearing loss.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Individuals with hearing loss are up to five times as likely to develop dementia. Brain scans show that hearing loss contributes to a faster rate of atrophy in the brain. This is especially prevalent in men, as men with hearing loss are 69 percent more likely to develop dementia.
When the “hearing” section of the brain grows inactive, it results in tissue loss and changes in brain structure – creating a link between hearing loss and dementia/Alzheimer’s disease.
The good news is that this is considered treatable. Numerous studies have found that hearing aids can help prevent symptoms which can lead to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. They can also offer a better quality of life for individuals with hearing loss, helping to stimulate their brains and avoid mental inactivity.
Depression and Anxiety
People with untreated hearing loss are more likely to experience loneliness, worry, depression, anxiety, and paranoia. They are less likely to participate in organized and casual social activities, which is a major cause of depression and anxiety.
Hearing loss can be extremely isolating. Seasonal affective disorder, anxiety disorders, and various mood disorders can all be linked back to hearing loss. It has also been shown that people with hearing loss have a more difficult time creating and sustaining relationships.
The best thing you can do for yourself if you are experiencing any of these hearing loss symptoms is to seek help immediately. Hearing aids can help preserve a person’s independence, emotional and physical health, and work, home, and social lives.
If you or someone you know needs to schedule a hearing consultation or more information about hearing aids in Las Vegas, consider the Hearing Associates of Las Vegas. The Hearing Associates of Las Vegas provides information and evaluations for those with all stages of hearing loss and hoping to help others in their hearing loss journeys.