According to public opinion, hearing loss is a sign of old age. But, hearing loss can strike at any time of life. My brother was born with a hearing loss, and I developed one when I was in my late 20s.
What many people don’t know is that hearing loss can actually lead to faster brain aging. Modern studies are showing that those who leave their hearing loss untreated see a much faster age-related decline in cognitive abilities.
In 2011, Johns Hopkins University did a study that monitored and recorded the brain health of 639 people with hearing loss who had sharp mental faculties at the start of the study. They followed most participants for 12-18 years and regularly tested them.
The final results showed that the worse the initial hearing loss was, the greater the likelihood that the hard of hearing person would develop dementia. Compared with people with no hearing loss, those with moderate hearing loss were three times more likely to develop dementia. Other studies have shown that number to be as high as five times the likelihood to develop dementia over a normal hearing person.
Your ears are the gateway to your brain and cognitive health. It is vitally important to keep them healthy. The sooner you visit our office for a hearing check, the sooner you can catch your hearing loss, and the more hearing you will likely be able to keep. Hearing works in much the same way the entire body does: If you don’t use it, you lose it. The longer you go without treatment for your loss, the more of your hearing you are likely to lose.
Hearing loss affects more than just brain function. It has been linked to depression, a 3-fold increase in falling risk, a 32% higher hospitalization rate, and a higher overall mortality rate.
That is why it is so important to get a hearing check every five years or so, once you reach 55-60. By the time a generation is in its 70s, two thirds of its population already has a hearing loss. Statistically, only about 20% of those with hearing loss seek treatment. When you consider that 1 in 3 seniors die with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, this statistic becomes scary. What if the majority of those cases were preventable with a properly fit hearing aid?
The baby boomers are a unique generation. They’re known for breaking traditional molds and living life on their own terms. If you are a boomer like my older brother, you want to stay as young and as active as possible. He still regularly plays in rock bands, sings, and runs around with his grandchildren. He lives life fully, even with a hearing loss, and he refuses to slow down.
If you are anything like my brother, it is vitally important you start to schedule a hearing check every few years as you mature. Good hearing is so important to healthy brain function and relationships with those around us. Check out Jerry’s testimonial to see how improved hearing helped him reconnect with loved ones.
You must actively use your brain if you want to keep it sharp.