Hearing loss and Dementia:
Symptoms of hearing loss are said to come before those of dementia, but can also accelerate the symptoms of cognitive decline. An initial explanation of this concept was that hearing loss and cognitive decline are the result of shared neurodegenerative processes. This may make sense, but would suggest that mechanical hearing aids used to manage hearing loss would have no influence on the rate of cognitive decline. Emerging findings have proved otherwise.
The beneficial impact of hearing aid devices relative to the progression of dementia has been quantified by a new study:
The results show using hearing aids could be associated with a 19% decrease in long-term cognitive decline. In the short term the analysis even found the use of hearing aids led to a 3% improvement in cognitive test scores. The question now is how?
Let's take a look at some of the ideas which could provide some understanding:
- The cognitive load hypothesis:
This suggests that as hearing loss progresses, more of our brain power is used to hear, resulting in fewer cognitive resources being available for executive functions and memory encoding.
- Sensory deficit hypothesis:
When the brain is not receiving auditory information, structural alterations including degeneration of cells can be the result of a lack of auditory sensory inputs.
Hearing loss can sometimes cause you to avoid social situations where you may feel you struggle in. The lack of social interaction causes one to be more isolated and this kind of isolation has been shown to accelerate cognitive decline.
How can Hearing SA help?
If you are worried about your hearing, or the hearing of a friend/relative, please get in touch!
Hearing SA is a local and independent clinic dedicated to the needs of our patients. We can provide the full range of hearing products suited to you and your budget.
If you would like to make an appointment or have any questions, call us on (08) 8272 6621 or 0403 690 980.