Dementia is one of the worst things to watch someone suffer through, especially when they start forgetting names and faces of loved ones. But the disease doesn’t stop there. It actually shuts down the body as well, eventually leading to death. Think about it: the brain helps our bodies function the way that they do. Once the brain is affected with a debilitating disease, the body begins to suffer as well. TIME released an article confirming this very thing with a study that was done with dementia patients (Elton, 2009). In that study, Dr. Susan Mitchell of the Hebrew SeniorLife Institute stated that, “Our main findings confirmed dementia has high mortality.”
So why is someone from an ear, nose and throat practice telling you all of this? Well, it’s because hearing loss causes dementia. That’s right. If you or a loved one has hearing loss, you could be at risk for dementia further down the road. But what does hearing loss have to do with dementia?
Hearing loss causes dementia
The Ear, Nose and Throat’s very own Dr. Phillip Flexon explains in his blog titled, “Hearing Aids Help Your Memory!”, where he says, “In 1989, a landmark study published in JAMA, showed hearing loss in older adults was independently associated with all forms of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease. Subsequently numerous studies have shown this impact is huge. Hearing loss is not just an associated factor with dementia but appears to be a cause of dementia.” (Flexon, 2018).
To make things worse, a study showed that those with hearing loss had a higher percentage in mental decline – looking somewhere between 30%-40% (Martin, 2017). Below are a few ways that this might occur:
- Those with hearing loss have a tendency to socially isolate themselves, preventing cognitive exercise in social situations
- Stress on the brain
- Less stimulation to the brain causes cognitive decline
Now the question is…
How do I prevent dementia?
In this case, preventing cognitive decline is actually easier than you might expect. The solution is simple: hearing aids. You may have discussed hearing aids with you a loved one who has hearing loss or even with your own doctor. It might be something you want to put off, but why wait?
The first step is to come to the ENT Institute and receive a hearing test from one of our many audiologists. From there, a treatment plan will be discussed.
How do hearing aids fight dementia?
The University of Michigan puts it likes this: “In all, the relative risk of being diagnosed with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, within three years of a hearing loss diagnosis was 18% lower for hearing aid users. The risk of being diagnosed with depression or anxiety by the end of three years was 11% lower for hearing aid users, and the risk of being treated for fall-related injuries was 13% lower.” (Michigan Medicine, 2019).
We get it. Hearing aids aren’t the most glamorous form of treatment to think about, but it’s a necessary tool for our health. If you’re unsure about hearing aids and are unsure if you or a loved one should move forward with them, just check out some of the benefits below:
- Promotes brain health
- Invisible devices, such as Phonak’s Lyric, promotes 100% invisibility
- Streams music straight to your device
- Real-time language translation for international travel
- Physical and mental health tracking, promoting a healthier lifestyle
- Direct app connection for ease-of-use
And if that’s not enough, just watch the videos below:
The first step is to schedule a hearing screener to find out if you have hearing loss. To do that, call 770-740-1860 or fill out the form at the top for same-day appointments.
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Elton, C. (2009, October 14). Redefining Dementia as a Terminal Illness [News Article] Retrieved from http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1930278,00.html
Flexon, P. (2018, August 27). Hearing Aids Help Your Memory [Medical Blog] Retrieved from https://www.entinstitute.com/hearing-aids-help-your-memory-dr-philip-flexon/
Martin, D. (2017, June 6). Hearing Loss and Dementia: The Silent Connection [Medical Article] Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/hearing-loss-dementia#1
Michigan Medicine. (2019, September 5). Hearing aids linked to lower risk of dementia, depression and falls. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 3, 2020 from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190905080110.htm