There are at least 38 million people who suffer from hearing loss throughout America. Many senior citizens expect to lose their hearing over time but few know that it could increase the chances for depression and even increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, hearing loss can influence every aspect of an individual’s life ranging from decreased social interaction to the unwanted symptoms of depression over a period of time.
However, dedicated scientists at Johns Hopkins University noticed patterns and similar traits from these conditions and wanted to take a closer look to examine how Alzheimer’s, depression and hearing loss are associated.
These scientists have determined that symptoms of these three conditions overlap and negatively influence one another. Essentially, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia very closely mimic the symptoms of hearing loss, which can further the symptoms of depression felt by sufferers. When an individual suffers from hearing loss, they are more susceptible to social isolation, a decline in thinking skills and even cognitive impairment.
The Link Between Hearing Loss and Dementia
It has been proven that processing auditory information, like speech, uses a large portion of the brain as sound sends signals to the primary auditory cortex of the brain. When an individual suffers from hearing loss, the brain activity gradually lessens, which causes a reduction of gray matter over time. As such, the brain begins to shrink when certain parts are not used much like how muscles react if they are not used on a regular basis.
The researchers at Johns Hopkins University discovered that the more severe the hearing loss is in an individual, the more likely they were to develop dementia. The amount of hearing loss an individual suffers from can actually cause an increase in dementia because the brain is not stimulated enough. When you combine the amount of time an individual suffers from each of these symptoms, this can cause a real change in an individual’s life.
How Hearing Loss and Dementia Influence Depression
Hearing loss can cause depression due to isolation, withdrawal from social activities and negatively impact the way individuals process auditory information. The combination of hearing loss and dementia increases the amount of mental confusion experienced from day to day. In fact, the symptoms of hearing loss and dementia are often overlooked, which leads to deeper episodes of stress and depression.
Researchers were also able to observe and identify how closely hearing loss is related to depression. As time goes on, individuals may suffer from longer periods of depression and loss of communication, which negatively effects normal brain stimulation. What is most disturbing about how these conditions are associated is that mild cognitive problems and hearing loss is becoming increasingly accepted over time.
Without further observation, symptoms of all conditions may grow worse over time. The studies on these three conditions shows that without adequate brain stimulation, an individual is more prone to feel hopeless and isolated. Not only is hearing one of our most valued senses but without being able to hear and communicate effectively, the brain becomes weaker and unable to function optimally.
If you seem to be losing your hearing or have a loved one suffering from hearing loss, don’t hesitate to contact New Generation Hearing. Dr. Joseph K. Durán and Yvette Durán Someillán empathize with their patients and understand how hearing loss, when untreated, can lead to other health related problems. Give them a call today at (305) 551-7222.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Recently, the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) did a survey of nearly 47,000 households and more than half (51%) of new first-time owners of hearing aids indicated that family members were a key factor in influencing their purchase of a new hearing aid in 2008. Fifty-five percent of new hearing aid users looked for treatment once they realized how serious their hearing loss problem was. BHI offers a free confidential online hearing test at www.hearingcheck.org where you can check the severity of your hearing loss in the comfort of your own home.
Many patients are in denial of their hearing loss problems and don’t even bother getting tested, which poses a significant barrier to their well being. People with signs of hearing loss often ask family member to repeat information and essentially making them act as their ears. What these family members don’t realize is that they are actually doing more harm then actually helping by acting as their ears.
Hearing loss is one of the most commonly unaddressed health conditions in America today, and affects more than 34 million Americans. Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a wide range of physical and emotional conditions, including irritability, negativism, anger, fatigue, tension, stress, depression, avoidance or withdrawal from social situations, social rejection and loneliness, reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety, impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks, reduced job performance and earning power, and diminished psychological and overall health.
The most loving action a family member can take with someone in denial of their hearing loss problem is seek help for them. Reach out to your loved one by making them an appointment with their local professional audiologist. This is the most selfless gift you can give your loved one this seasonRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )