While searching for a cure for dementia and cognitive decline, researchers found that hearing loss plays a role in how quickly and severely the disease progresses. Fortunately, it has also been discovered that correcting these hearing issues can possibly prevent the effects of cognitive decline. One way this has been addressed is through hearing aids. Learn about the role hearing aids play in maintaining optimal brain function.
In a study of first-time hearing aid users conducted by the University of Maryland, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, the devices were shown to help brain function in multiple ways. Before they started wearing hearing aids, participants took behavioral and cognitive tests to measure their hearing, memory, and processing speed. After using hearing aids for six months, the group took the same tests and saw promising results, including:
Based on these results, it is clear that many people could benefit from wearing hearing aids to slow down or even stop cognitive decline.
Straining to hear conversations is a common symptom of hearing loss. When a person continually puts stress on their brain to process the sounds around them, it pulls resources away from other parts of the brain, reducing abilities like memory. If this strain goes on long enough, your brain could stop being able to conduct these other functions altogether, which allows dementia to set in. Wearing hearing aids makes it much easier to listen and limits brain strain, enhancing your memory and other important functions.
When people cannot process the sounds around them, they tend to avoid social situations. This isolation is a leading cause of dementia because their cognitive functions are not being used and deteriorate more quickly over time. Wearing hearing aids can help you participate in the conversation again.
Only a small percentage of people with hearing loss wear hearing aids, but they are an important tool that will improve your ability to hear and provide long-term benefits for your brain and its ability to function. If you believe you have hearing loss, don’t hesitate to schedule a hearing test. Once your hearing loss has ben identified, you can start taking the necessary steps toward improved cognitive function and better hearing.
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