Having trouble hearing but reluctant to try hearing aids? Social isolation, diminished quality of life and an increase in your risk for age-related cognitive decline and dementia are just a few of the potential downsides to your lack of action. New research findings about hearing loss and healthy brain aging may provide just the incentive you need. The study found that adults with hearing loss who actively use hearing aids can reduce the risk of cognitive decline associated with hearing loss.
“When you actively use hearing aids, you are more likely to stay socially engaged, one of the primary ways to stimulate your brain,” says Kenneth Sheppard, LFDHI of Hearcare Inc., with offices in Sherman and Gainesville “And like any exercise, the mental give-and-take of social interaction helps to keep your brain fit and slow down the accelerated cognitive decline linked to hearing loss.”
Cognition refers to a variety of mental processes used in gaining knowledge and comprehension including attention, memory, understanding language, learning, reasoning, problem solving and decision making. When people experience cognitive decline, they may have problems with remembering, language, thinking and judgment. A number of studies have shown correlations between hearing loss in older adults and a greater risk of cognitive decline and possibly also the onset of dementia.
“When you have hearing loss, your brain doesn’t receive the sound information it needs to understand what is being said and expends more energy trying to fill in the blanks,” explains Kenneth “Conversations become difficult and exhausting and you may start to withdraw and avoid the social connections that are so important to brain health.”
Sheppard points out that the newest hearing solutions with Oticon BrainHearing™ technology take a proactive “brain first” approach, providing the clearest, most accurate speech signal possible so that your brain doesn’t have to work as hard to understand what is being said. The mental effort you need to understand speech in noise is minimized so you can conserve the cognitive resources you need to engage in socializing and other brain-stimulating activities.