The Link Between Hearing Loss and Mental Health
By gahear on November 7, 2023 in Hearing Loss
It’s a common misconception that hearing loss is a natural part of aging, and it’s something that we simply must live with. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Untreated hearing loss can lead to social isolation and put too much stress on the brain, increasing the risk of mental health problems, cognitive decline, and even dementia. That’s why treating hearing loss is so important.
But before we get to treatment, let’s take a look at the connection between hearing loss and mental health.
The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Mental Health
How can hearing loss be connected to mental health? They are connected more than you might think.
Untreated hearing loss can often lead to a disconnection with the outside world. When you can’t hear your loved ones when they talk to you, when you can’t talk to your friends in a loud place, or when you can’t communicate with others on a day-to-day basis, social isolation is often the next step. And social isolation can often lead to loneliness and, in turn, mental health problems.
On top of that, untreated hearing loss can also force the brain to work harder, and that can tax and deplete resources that are usually available for memory and concentration. This is one of the reasons why hearing loss is linked to an increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia. With fewer resources being used for memory, dementia can be a very real risk.
John Hopkins did a study with over 600 adults over a period of almost twelve years, and in this study, they found that mild hearing loss doubled the risk for dementia, and severe hearing loss made it five times more likely for someone to develop dementia.
A 2020 Lancet study also found that hearing loss may be the number one most modifiable risk factor for dementia. This means that treating your hearing loss can lower your risk of developing dementia.
How Can Hearing Aids Help with Mental Health
It cannot be overstated how much treatment for hearing loss can affect your cognitive and mental health. With the help of hearing aids, you’re able to stay connected to your loved ones and participate in your favorite activities, keeping social isolation and loneliness at bay.
Additionally, hearing aids can ensure your brain isn’t overtaxed and has the resources and energy it needs for memory, concentration, and other essentials for everyday life.
A study from the University of Michigan looked at data from 114,862 adults aged 66 years and older. Each of the participants had been diagnosed with hearing loss within the last three years. The study looked at the link between hearing aid use and the onset of dementia, anxiety, or depression. The results showed that the participants who used hearing aids had a lower risk of being diagnosed with dementia, depression, or anxiety within three years of a hearing loss diagnosis. By treating their hearing loss, the risk of dementia was 18% lower, and the risk of depression/anxiety was 11 % lower.
If you think you are struggling with hearing loss, one of the most important things you can do for your physical and mental health is to schedule a hearing test.
Schedule A Consultation
Have you been struggling with hearing loss but feel like it’s a natural part of aging? Or perhaps you feel like you’re too young to have hearing loss? Don’t let these misconceptions stop you from getting the treatment you need.
Schedule a consultation today by calling our office at (706) 553-7962 or using our online contact form.