Can Hearing Loss Cause Memory Problems
If left untreated, yes, hearing loss can possibly lead to memory problems.
Why? Hearing loss can make it much more difficult for you to participate socially, whether this is engaging in fast-moving conversations or chatting on the phone. This can lead people to withdraw from their social lives and places a strain on relationships with family and friends.
If this results in a more isolated and quiet life where your brain is not being constantly challenged like it used to be, your mind will go from working very hard to not having to work very much at all. This can be detrimental to your memory health.
Its always important to keep your brain active, especially in old age, but hearing loss can act as an obstacle to engaging in the mental challenges of daily life, with repercussions down the line. Researchers have even found that people with central hearing loss are twice as likely to have mild cognitive impairment as people who have no hearing loss.
Although there may also be a correlation between the relationship between hearing loss and cognitive decline, hearing loss can undoubtedly contribute to the deterioration of memory health and other mental capacities.
How Does Dementia Affect Hearing
Untreated hearing loss has been linked to Alzheimers disease as well as other forms of dementia, according to many researchers. In other words, persons who suffer from hearing loss are more prone than those who do not suffer from hearing loss to have cognitive issues. A great deal of study is being done in this area, and there are still many unsolved questions.
Researchers are also working on the use of hearing aids and how it may prevent or reverse cognitive decline, and preliminary evidence has been promising, particularly when it comes to postponing the onset of dementia. Several clinical trials are now being conducted, with fantastic results.
Can Untreated Hearing Loss Affect Your Brain
Hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . It can arise from a number of factorsâfrom natural aging and disease to certain medications and loud work environments. Unfortunately, hearing loss often goes untreated, especially among older adults, and can have serious health consequences.
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What Research On Dementia And Hearing Loss Reveals
Most recently, a study published in July 2021 found that people who struggle to hear speech in noise were more likely to develop dementia than those with normal hearing, as measured over an 11-year period. This was the first time that speech in noise was specifically studied. However, the study wasn’t capable of determining if untreated hearing loss caused the dementia, only that they’re linked.
In a different study, a team at Johns Hopkins looked at cognitive impairment scores over six years for nearly 2,000 seniors. They concluded that those with hearing loss had a faster decline. The volunteers were all cognitively normal when the research began. But by the studys end, people with hearing loss were 24 percent more likely to meet the standard of cognitive impairment compared to people with normal hearing.
Another approach is to ask people whether theyve noticed a change. Measures of subjective decline can pick up losses before theyll show up on a test. A large studyusing data drawn from more than 10,000 men age 62 and upran over eight years. It found that the greater their hearing loss, the more likely men were to express concerns about their memory or thinking over time. With even a mild hearing loss, their chance of reporting cognitive decline was 30 percent higher than among those who did not report any hearing loss. With moderate or severe hearing loss, the risk was 42 and 52 percent higher.
More: Slight hearing loss linked to cognitive decline in new study
Dementia And Ongoing Management Of Hearing Loss
Where a person has dementia, people working with them may need to take additional steps to help them to manage their hearing loss. For example, a person with dementia may really struggle to adjust to using a hearing aid. They may not be able to recall that they have a hearing problem or that they have a hearing aid. They may not recognise what the hearing is for or when they do remember to wear it, how to use it effectively. They may fiddle with it or refuse to wear it regularly and intermittent use may create more difficulties with remembering how to use it.
For all these sorts of problems, the help of other people can make a huge difference. If care or support staff are observant, they can pick on a persons behaviours and know what to look out for and offer in supporting that person best.
These observations should then be recorded clearly. All those offering care and support to a person with dementia need to know the persons communication needs and this should be recorded in the care or support plans. This information needs to be put to good use in day-to-day situations, but also in more complex situations, such as supporting the person at a hospital appointment.
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Hearing Aids Are Difficult To Use
There is a time of adjustment while you, as well as your central auditory system and brain, become accustomed to living with hearing aids. Most doctors and hearing clinics offer a trial period so that you can be certain that the device youve chosenwhether its a miniature behind-the-ear model or one that fits into your earis the best fit for you before making a purchase.
Impacts Of Untreated Hearing Loss
Many people are aware theyre suffering from hearing loss, but find it difficult to get help. Those who have been diagnosed with hearing loss wait, on average, seven years before seeking treatment. The reasons for waiting on help vary some are frustrated by hearing loss, believing it to be a sign of aging. Others think their condition isnt that severe or may not even realize they have hearing problems.
Unfortunately, allowing hearing loss to remain untreated can lead to some serious consequences. The most recent studies highlight the social, psychological, cognitive and health effects of untreated hearing loss. These effects can vary as well, but all have serious impacts on your quality of life.
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Dementia And Hearing Loss
Many people with dementia will also be living with hearing loss. It is common for people to develop gradual hearing loss as they age. People with hearing loss are also more likely to develop dementia, although at present we dont know why this is. Living with both conditions can present challenges, but there are many things which can help people to live well with both hearing loss and dementia.
Someone may have acquired hearing loss which has developed during the persons lifetime . Other people may have been born deaf or became deaf at a young age and are considered to have profound deafness. They may consider themselves as Deaf , use British Sign Language as their first language and identify with the Deaf community.
In this section we look at acquired hearing loss the problems with telling the difference between signs of dementia and acquired hearing loss, and how to help someone who has both.
Wearing Hearing Aids Means Im Old And Im Not Ready For That
Its normal to feel worried that hearing loss means youre agingand to want to hide it. Plenty of people with a hearing impairment sit silently rather than joining in conversations and activities, because they fear that hearing problems will make them seem helpless or less than competent. The truth: Connecting with others can help your brain stay younger and keep you involved with life.
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Can Hearing Aids Help In Cognitive Decline
Hearing loss can put you at risk of depression, cognitive impairment, isolation, and anxiety. However, these problems can be alleviated with regular use of hearing aids when they are prescribed for your hearing loss. Hearing aids can help restore your communication function and improve your auditory memory and communication competence.
The University of Maryland Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences conducted research in which they monitored a group of first-time hearing aid users with mild to moderate hearing loss for six months. The research team has used various cognitive and behavioral tests to evaluate participants memory and hearing. After six months, participants showed significant improvement in listening, memory, and neural speech processing from using hearing aids. The findings of the research are published in Neuropsychologia and Clinical Neurophysiology.
The sooner you get your hearing loss treated with hearing aids, the better it will be for your brain and memory. Visit an audiologist near you to get your hearing tested and receive recommendations for the best hearing aids.
Contact us at to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chris Hoffmann!
If You Need Help With Hearing Loss
If you’re noticing trouble hearing in yourself or a loved one, don’t delayprompt treatment can help you or your loved one stay engaged in the world and avoid social isolation, a common problem for people with untreated hearing loss. Hearing loss is exhausting, but it doesn’t have to be. To find a hearing care professional, see our directory of consumer-reviewed hearing clinics to find a hearing specialist or audiologist near you.
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Misdiagnosis And Further Links
Hearing loss can sometimes be misdiagnosed as dementia. People with dementia can have difficulty communicating with others, including finding the right words, or signs, for what they want to say. They may have difficulty processing what theyve heard, particularly if there are distractions. According to some researchers, this difficulty in processing information can be one of the first signs of cognitive impairment.
We also know that hearing loss can speed up the onset of dementia, or make the symptoms of dementia appear worse, and dementia can heighten the impact of hearing loss.
Memory Loss Cause # 7 Thyroid Problems
According to recent scientific research studies, hypothyroidism is present in about 5% of people over the age of 65, and also women are practically 3 times as most likely to have thyroid problems. Hyperthyroidism is equally as harmful, both to sleep and general health, and study shows that 15% of individuals detected with an overactive thyroid are over the age of 65.
As we get older, it comes to be more challenging to identify is thyroid concerns are also present- individuals over 70 commonly have no evident signs of a thyroid disorder, as the signs and symptoms are likewise existing with various other problems they are facing because of aging. It is approximated that 20% of those over 65 struggle with some kind of thyroid disorder. Little is understood about exactly how specifically thyroid problems influence memory, but research reveals a clear web link between memory loss and also hypo in addition to hyperthyroidism. Talk to your physician to find out even more concerning your thyroid health as well as if there is anything you can do to aid boost your memory.
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Memory Loss Cause # 5 Depression As Well As Anxiety
Serious anxiety or pain can occasionally trigger forgetfulness as well as memory loss, as well as normally impacting your capability to concentrate. Sensations of unhappiness, extreme pain at the loss of a loved one, as well as various other emotional trauma can cause feeling inaccessible, or in a fog and also failing to remember small details..
Anxiousness impacts between 3% as well as 15% of older grownups, according to Mental Health America, and current studies reveal that 2.2% of elders report significant mental distress during the 30 days prior to the survey. Those aged 45-65 reported distress 4.4% of the time, and also report a high level of stress and anxiety. There are many stressful signs of anxiousness, consisting of:.
Chest pains.Lack of ability to concentrate.Absence of short-term memory.Dizziness.Fear of passing away.
There are lots of factors an individual can come to be nervous, from family members problems, life changes, cash concerns, and also health worries. Despite the reason behind your stress and anxiety, there are a selection of methods you can deal with your tough feelings at home, and options for when depression and anxiousness end up being difficult to live with:.
Condition Causing Slurred Speech
Slurring of one’s speech could be from substance intoxication or from a stroke. A doctor needs to make this distinction. You should see one immediately.
Top Symptoms: slurred speech, arm weakness, hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t there, odd walking gait, hard testicle lump
Urgency: Emergency medical service
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My Hearings Not That Bad
Hearing aid users wait, on average, 10 years before getting help for hearing loss. But during that time, communication with loved ones becomes more difficult, and isolation and health risks increase. Our findings emphasized just how important it is to be proactive in addressing any hearing declines over time, says Lin.
Memory Loss Cause #12 Aging
Most older individuals have some memory problems, Legendre states. Some older people have worse memory loss, recognized as light cognitive disability, Legendre says. They may have trouble remembering recent conversations or fail to remember appointments.
There are means to assist stop forgetfulness as you age. A research from McMaster University found that exercise, specifically at a high strength, can boost memory in older adults. One more research study released in the Lancet in 2019 found workout can reduce your danger of dementia.
One of our memorys most harmful adversaries is a lack of excitement. Read books, create or find out new points to stimulate your mind.
How Can Hearing Loss Affect My Memory Can be a difficult question to answer. Following this guideline should generally improve your memory loss however if it doesnt you may want to look into for more causes that are particular to your situation.
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The Links Between Hearing And Health
Brain scans show us that hearing loss may contribute to a faster rate of atrophy in the brain, Lin says. Hearing loss also contributes to social isolation. You may not want to be with people as much, and when you are you may not engage in conversation as much. These factors may contribute to dementia.
As you walk, your ears pick up subtle cues that help with balance. Hearing loss mutes these important signals, Lin notes. It also makes your brain work harder just to process sound. This subconscious multitasking may interfere with some of the mental processing needed to walk safely.
Help With Hearing Aids
There is a lot to learn about using hearing aids and this can be particularly difficult if a person has dementia. Care and support staff can play a vital role in ensuring that a person with dementia benefits reliably from their hearing aid.
Here are some basic tips from Action on Hearing Loss:
- Make sure hearing aids are checked every day to make sure they are working and that the person is wearing them correctly.
- Learn how to use the t-switch and controls on hearing aids, how to change batteries and how to clean hearing aids
- Make sure arrangements are in place for hearing aid re-tubing, repairs and battery replacement. Local audiology departments should be able to help with this.
- Try to minimise the number of lost hearing aids, and ensure that lost hearing aids are replaced as quickly as possible.
- Get to know who to consult to examine ears for wax and to arrange ear syringing, where appropriate.
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Availability Of Data And Materials
The data that support our findings this study are available from the NHIRD, but restrictions apply to the availability of these data, which were used under license for the current study thus, they are not publicly available. Data are, however, available from the authors upon reasonable request and with the permission of the NHIRD.
How To Decrease Your Risk Of Dementia With Healthy Hearing
If youre finding it hard to follow conversations in restaurants, struggle to hear on the phone, feel that people are always mumbling, or are always asking people to repeat themselves, now is an excellent time to organize a hearing test. This will help you get to the bottom of whats causing your hearing problems.
If you have started to notice a decline in your hearing, it pays to be proactive. If your hearing loss has a treatable underlying cause, youll be able to get a diagnosis and faster treatment. If theres no treatable underlying cause, you need to know.
Astoundingly, hearing aid users wait on average ten years before they start using a hearing aid. This is a long time in which other health problems can develop. If youre diagnosed with moderate to profound hearing loss, youll be able to chat to your doctor about getting fitted with a hearing aid.
If youre only experiencing hard times hearing in certain environments, you could benefit from the use of a Personal Sound Amplification Product , such as the Olive Smart Ear, to amplify environmental sounds and improve your auditory experience.
Its important to get the appropriate help for your diagnosis. Get a hearing test, and your doctor can point you in the right direction.
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Find A Hearing Care Partner
Keep your edge well into old age. Catch and treat hearing loss early to slow or stop its progression.
Instead of wondering about how a potential hearing loss might affect you, find out where you or a loved one stands. Get a free comprehensive hearing screening from one of our hearing care professionals.