Hearing Loss and Dementia

Unfortunately, a large majority of people are unaware of the correlation between hearing loss and dementia. We forget that our ears are not stand-alone additions to our body, rather, they are vital body parts that have a mutually beneficial relationship with the rest of our complex system. 

We would never take a fully functioning brain for granted, so it is imperative to work on preventing agents that lead to our brain’s decline, such as hearing loss. 
Cognitive decline induced by hearing loss occurs gradually before approaching a severity such as dementia. It starts with ignoring the small hints at hearing loss symptoms. Incoming sound becomes a mental strain to process. Difficulty hearing starts to dampen conversations and asking for repetitions leads to frustration, ultimately working to increase social isolation. 
Memory loss then slowly becomes a casual occurrence in daily life. Hearing loss does not guarantee the development of dementia, but there is a strong possibility. Rather than waiting to find out, why not take a leap forward into hearing health and wellness. Maintaining the overall health of your body and mental health over time includes prioritizing taking care of your hearing health. 

4 Healthy Habits to Reduce Risks of Dementia

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified dementia as the greatest global challenge for health and social care in the 21st century. By learning more about dementia, you will have a greater opportunity to improve not only your quality of life but the quality of life of those who love you.

A recent study from the Lancet Commissions identified that 1 in 3 cases of dementia can be prevented by addressing 9 lifestyle factors: hearing loss, education, smoking, depression, physical activity, social contact, hypertension, obesity, diabetes.

Here are some tips to alleviate these risks:

Get your hearing checked regularly

Recognition of a correlation between hearing loss and dementia is relatively new, but it has shown that even mild levels of hearing loss increase the long-term risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

It’s estimated that hearing loss occurs in 32% of individuals 55 years and older. Regular hearing tests should be a part of your regular health examinations.
By establishing an early baseline, your hearing care professional will be able to track the progression of any hearing loss and help you to address and mitigate additional hearing problems.

Exercise regularly

Older adults who exercise are more likely to maintain cognition than those who do not exercise. Studies have found that physical activity has a significant protective effect against cognitive decline. Physical exercise comes with a range of benefits as well, such as improving balance and reducing falls, improving mood, reducing mortality, and improving function. Stay active, stay healthy!

Quit smoking

Smoking is linked to cardiovascular pathology, which is associated with cognitive impairment; cigarette smoke also contains neurotoxins, which heighten the risk of cognitive decline. Quit smoking and keep your mind clear!

Stay socially active

Evidence is growing that social isolation is a risk factor for dementia and it increases the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, and depression. Social isolation might also result in cognitive inactivity, which is linked to faster cognitive decline and low mood. Staying connected to your community, family, and friends is helpful to maintain cognitive wellness!

To Sum Up

Hearing loss and dementia may have a close correlation and, as people age, it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep hearing loss at bay. By staying socially active and maintaining good health with exercise and routine hearing care, you have a better chance of a long life that minimizes or avoids hearing loss and dementia.

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