Individuals with hearing loss in American Fork have an increased risk for a number of physical, social and psychological health conditions, with one of the most common being cognitive impairment. This is characterized by declines in memory, language, thinking and judgment.
Link Between Hearing Loss & Cognitive Impairment
Hearing loss is a widespread condition that affects an estimated 48 million Americans. It’s the third most common physical health condition, behind arthritis and hearing loss. Yet a surprising number of people go untreated for a variety of reasons. Because hearing loss develops gradually, many learn to adapt to a decline in hearing without even realizing there is a problem. Others worry that treatment won’t be effective, or hearing aids will make them appear old, or hearing loss is simply an inevitable part of the aging process. Price is often a concern, as well; few insurance companies cover the costs of hearing tests and/or treatment.
The link between hearing loss and cognitive decline is well-known. Multiple studies have found a connection between hearing loss and mild cognitive impairment, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. What scientists are unsure about is whether hearing loss actually causes cognitive decline, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest this is likely. People with hearing loss in American Fork tend to withdraw from social situations to avoid the fatigue and frustration associated with trying to follow conversations. It is theorized that this lack of mental stimulation affects the brain, causing the neurons linked to cognition to gradually die off. Think of it as a “use-it-or-lose-it” type of scenario.
Wearing Hearing Aids Can Reduce Your Risk of Cognitive Impairment
Hearing aids are the best way to delay or avoid these negative health effects. A large study published in 2019 tracked 115,000 adults and found that those who treated hearing loss by wearing hearing aids had a reduced risk of developing depression and cognitive impairment and were less likely to experience a fall that led to injury compared to their peers who did not treat their hearing loss.
Hearing aids won’t only delay the onset of dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment; they will help improve your safety. Because high frequencies are affected most, many patients are unable to hear emergency sirens, car horns or smoke detectors. This can lead to accidents, injuries and even death. Most of the concerns people have about wearing hearing aids are unfounded. Today’s digital devices are small and comfortable, provide clear sound in a variety of listening environments, and for those worried about what others may think, some models are worn deep in the ear canal, making them virtually invisible.
With so many benefits to wearing hearing aids, there is no excuse not to! If you or a loved one are experiencing signs of hearing loss, contact an audiologist in American Fork for a hearing evaluation. The sooner you seek treatment, the better your odds of preventing cognitive decline and other negative health effects.