Did you know that September is World Alzheimer’s Month? This global campaign seeks to raise awareness around dementia – a group of medical conditions that affect brain health. According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, 55 million people live with dementia worldwide. This is expected to rapidly increase, reaching 139 million by 2050. Alzheimer’s is the most common type, impacting up to 70% of people with dementia.
Dementia is incurable and cognitive decline is irreversible. Due to this, there is significant emphasis placed on prevention and ways brain health can be protected. One way is by prioritizing hearing health and treating hearing loss.
Link Between Hearing Loss & Cognitive Decline
Extensive research shows that hearing loss increases the risk of cognitive decline. Numerous studies explore this link including a significant study that was published in the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. Conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, this study included 10,107 participants. Researchers assessed cognitive and hearing capacities of these participants, ages 62 and older, over an 8 year period. Researchers found that people with hearing loss were much more likely to experience cognitive decline.
Compared to participants without hearing loss, the cognitive decline among those with impaired hearing was:
- 30% higher among people with mild hearing loss
- 42% higher among people with moderate hearing loss
- 54% higher among people with severe hearing loss
This data highlights a significant correlation between hearing loss and cognitive decline. It also reveals that the greater the degree of hearing loss, the higher the risk is of experiencing cognitive decline. This supports extensive research that identifies hearing loss as a factor that can significantly impact brain health.
Hearing Loss Treatment Supports Brain Health
Fortunately, there are effective ways that hearing loss is treated. The most common treatment is hearing aids which are electronic devices that are designed to absorb, amplify and process sound. Hearing loss treatment offers numerous life-changing benefits that transform health. This includes supporting brain health and reducing the risk of cognitive decline. Several studies show the positive impact hearing aids have on brain health including the following studies:
- 2020 Study Published in Science Daily: researchers at the University of Melbourne assessed the cognitive health for almost 100 participants before and after using hearing aids. Participants, ages 62-82, were assessed before hearing aid use and 18 months after wearing hearing aids. Researchers found that “97% of participants showed either clinically significant improvement or stability in executive function (mental ability to plan, organize information and initiate tasks)”.
- 2018 Study Published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society: researchers investigated the impact of wearing hearing aids for over 2,000 people. This included conducting memory tests every two years for 18 years. Researchers found that hearing aids improved scores on memory tests, demonstrating strengthened cognitive functions.
These studies show that hearing aids effectively support cognitive function and improve brain health. This reduces the risk of cognitive decline and associated conditions like Alzheimer’s.
Prioritize Your Hearing Health Today
World Alzheimer’s Month is an invitation to prioritize your hearing health. You can do this with one simple step: scheduling an appointment for a hearing test. Hearing tests involve a painless and non-invasive process that thoroughly measures hearing capacities in both ears. This identifies any hearing loss and the degree of impairment you could be experiencing. Hearing aids are commonly used to treat hearing loss. These savvy devices are equipped with innovative technology that absorbs and processes speech as well as sound.
Today’s hearing aids are sleeker and more advanced than ever before. There is a wide range of options, styles, and technologies that are designed to enhance everyday life. Hearing aids not only alleviate hearing loss symptoms but these devices maximize one’s hearing ability. This provides people with the support needed to navigate everyday life with greater ease, confidence, and presence .People are better able to engage in conversations, social events, and daily activities. Hearing aids also support the brain and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation. Our practice offers comprehensive services and support that is invested in prioritizing your hearing health and wellness.