The alarming link between hearing loss and cognitive decline
The alarming link between hearing loss and cognitive decline.
As new research finds a link between hearing loss and cognitive decline, we reveal the things you should look out for and where you should go to find help.
What is cognitive decline?
Cognitive decline, or Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) relates to a slight but measurable decline in one or several cognitive abilities (including; memory, language and motor skills). This decline in cognitive abilities may be noticeable but not severe enough to cause disruption to daily life.
Those with cognitive decline are reported to be more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or another type of Dementia.
The causes of cognitive decline are not fully understood but the diagnosis should be determined by a medical professional who can conduct the relevant tests.
The risk factors that can be associated with cognitive decline and can also be linked to the early stages of Dementia include:
A family history of cognitive conditions
Cardiovascular disease and related conditions
The connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline
Age-related hearing loss (Presbycusis) is one of the most common types of hearing loss and is a natural part of the ageing process. Leaving hearing loss untreated can lead to wider health problems, such as cognitive decline.
Untreated hearing loss can cause your brain to strain, which may leave you feeling tired after a long day concentrating in order to hear people.
A study by John Hopkins and the National Institute on Ageing (2011) found that hearing loss was strongly associated with an accelerated rate of cognitive decline in older adults.
The study also found that those with an untreated hearing loss were more likely to develop Dementia compared to those with normal levels of hearing.
What should I look out for?
There are some simple ways to spot the signs of hearing loss. The common symptoms include:
Difficulty hearing others, particularly in group conversations or noisy situations
Having the TV or radio on a higher volume than you would with a normal level of hearing
Struggling to place where a sound is coming from
Feeling tired from having to concentrate whilst listening to others
The symptoms of cognitive decline may be hard to identify. Many signs may be mistaken for ‘ageing’ or ‘getting older’. The signs that may indicate decline are:
Forgetting conversations or events
Trouble remembering names
Struggling to follow conversations
Misplacing items or losing things
What help is at hand for cognitive decline?
No medication has yet been approved to treat cognitive decline.
According to Alzheimer’s Association, adopting a healthy lifestyle, making sure you are physically, mentally and socially active as well as maintaining a balanced diet may help slow decline.
If you feel you, or someone you know is experiencing cognitive decline it’s best to seek out a medical professional your GP who can conduct the relevant tests. Fill out the form on the right or below to book your FREE hearing test.
What help is at hand for hearing loss?
If you feel you are experiencing hearing loss, it is best to seek help from a qualified hearing professional as soon as you can. After taking a hearing test, you may opt to use hearing aids to experience clearer hearing.
Be sure to get regular hearing health check-ups so your hearing device can be reprogrammed should your level of hearing change.