Some medical issues like a foot cramp or indigestion may go away on their own. Hearing loss, the third most common physical condition in the United States, is not one of those. Despite how common the condition is, only about 20% of individuals who could benefit from amplification seek treatment. Choosing not to treat this condition can impact your ability to hear and negatively affect your brain health.
Link Between Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline
A study conducted by Boston-area researchers determined that hearing loss was associated with a higher risk of cognitive decline. Their eight-year longitudinal study looked at health care information from 10,107 men ages 62 and older. Participants had all been diagnosed with hearing loss prior to the study and reported no cognitive concerns at enrollment.
Information about their hearing loss, use of hearing aids and cognitive function was collected through questionnaires. The researchers found that men with moderate or severe hearing loss had a 42-54% higher risk of subjective cognitive decline compared to those with normal or mild hearing loss.
Subjective cognitive decline is a term the researchers use to refer to a change in memory and thinking that the subjects noticed in themselves. This is often considered an early indication of cognitive decline.
Importance of Early Diagnosis
According to the World Health Organization, dementia affects about 55 million people around the world. While there are currently no current treatments that can prevent or reverse this disease, early identification can help improve the quality of life for both those with dementia and those who care for them. Many encourage their patients to seek brain stimulation, including regularly working on the daily crossword puzzle in the Northern Neck News.
Lead study author Dr. Sharon Curhan hopes that publishing a study that shows the association between untreated hearing loss and the new onset of cognitive decide can help convince people to get the testing they need quicker. This can befit both their hearing and cognitive health.
To learn more about the importance of treating your hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, contact The Audiology Offices today.