Good hearing helps us communicate and socialize. Our sense of hearing is important to keep us safe. We need to protect it as we rely on it in so many ways.
Many things can cause our hearing system to stop functioning properly: extensive noise, injuries to the head, genetics, infections, ototoxic reaction to drugs or aging process. The real concern is often not the condition itself but that we do not recognize it early on. As with your eyes and teeth we need to take care of our ears therefore early detection is extremely important. When you leave it untreated it can lead to isolation and depression.
Hearing loss can also impact your life in many other ways such as: avoidance from social situations, reduced alertness, fatigue, tension, stress, anger as well as reduced job performance. It is important to recognize the signs and go for regular hearing evaluations. Wearing ear protection around noisy equipment and loud environments is imperative to maintaining healthy hearing. Remember that hearing loss does not have to prevent you from enjoying life as long as you do something about it.
DID YOU KNOW…
According to several major studies, older adults with hearing loss are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, compared to those with normal hearing. Further, the risk escalates as a person’s hearing loss grows worse. Those with mild hearing impairment are nearly twice as likely to develop dementia compared to those with normal hearing. The risk increases three-fold for those with moderate hearing loss, and five-fold for those with severe impairment.
Specifically, the risk of dementia increases among those with a hearing loss greater than 25 decibels. For study participants over the age of 60, 36 percent of the risk for dementia was associated with hearing loss.
How are the conditions connected?
Although the reason for the link between hearing loss and dementia is not conclusive, study investigators suggest that a common pathology may underlie both, or that the strain of decoding sounds over time may overwhelm the brains of people with hearing loss, leaving them more vulnerable to dementia. They also speculate that hearing loss could lead to dementia by making individuals more socially isolated—a known risk factor for dementia and other cognitive disorders.
In addition to being an important risk factor for Alzheimer’s and dementia, multiple studies have shown that hearing loss worsens the symptoms of these diseases when they are already present. These symptoms include impaired memory and the inability to learn new tasks.