Did you know that hearing loss can be the leading cause of cognitive decline in later life? With current medical advances, we can now live longer than our parents and grandparents. However, our mental capacity will not always grow along with us. It is not uncommon to find that the current generation’s mental facilities are declining more rapidly than previously seen.
There are a number of reasons why this could be happening. Among the major causes are diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and hearing loss. Studies show that hearing loss can cause a decline in cognitive function by as much as 50 percent.
What Is Cognitive Function?
Cognitive functions refer to the brain’s ability to store, process, and recall information. These processes are performed by the brain, a structure that sits inside the skull and is made up of neurons, cells that work together to perform certain actions.
What Causes Hearing Loss?
The most common reason for hearing loss is aging. As we age, the ear can no longer filter out the sound waves as they are too high, causing damage to the sensory hair cells of the inner ear.
Another major reason for hearing loss is exposure to loud noise. People who work in factories or construction sites, musicians and people who play sports, especially football, and those who work in dangerous jobs are at a higher risk of suffering from hearing loss.
How Does Hearing Loss Affect Your Brain?
Hearing loss can be very problematic for your brain. One of the most common problems is that you will not be able to recognize someone’s voice, especially when you are in a noisy place. If this is a problem, you will not be able to respond quickly and accurately to people calling out to you.
You may not understand what people are saying, and as a result, your brain will be constantly trying to interpret what people are saying and this can make you forget things and have trouble recalling words. You may also be confused as to why someone is talking to you.
If you are exposed to high levels of noise for a long period of time, you could find that you are unable to concentrate as you will become tired easily and suffer from insomnia.
It is not unusual for people to hear the sound of their own heartbeat and for this reason, they may become confused and disorientated.
Your brain is extremely important for memory and processing. If you start to lose your hearing, you are putting your brain under a huge strain.
What Can You Do To Improve Your Hearing?
Use hearing protection when working in a factory or a construction site, where loud noises are a constant threat. Wear ear plugs or muffs to block out the noise and protect your hearing. If you have hearing problems, it is advisable that you see your hearing specialist as soon as possible.
If you have been diagnosed with hearing loss, make sure you maintain your hearing by following the advice of your hearing specialist and taking the necessary steps. The key to keeping your mind active is to keep your hearing and hearing loss under control.