Why You Should Schedule a Hearing Test for World Alzheimer’s Month

Why You Should Schedule a Hearing Test for World Alzheimer's Month

September marks World Alzheimer’s Month – an international campaign to raise awareness and advocacy around dementia. A simple way you can participate in this global movement is by scheduling a hearing test which can protect your brain health and overall wellness! 

About Dementia & Alzheimer’s 

According to the Alzheimer’s Disease International, there are 55 million people living with dementia worldwide. This is expected to significantly increase, reaching 139 million by 2050. Dementia is an umbrella term that encompasses numerous medical conditions that are characterized by reduced cognitive functioning. This includes vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and fronto-tempral dementia. The most common type of dementia though is Alzheimer’s which impacts 60-70% of people with dementia. 

These conditions damage nerve cells in the brain. This reduces or prevents these nerve cells from communicating effectively, reducing cognitive functions. The impact of this depends on the region of the brain that is most affected by the condition but common symptoms include: loss of memory, difficulty performing everyday tasks, inability to learn new things, difficulty communicating and understanding what others are saying, as well as personality and behavioral changes. 

There are no cures for dementia, making it a permanent and irreversible condition. Extensive research focuses on ways people can prevent dementia and take care of their brain health. Substantial studies show that hearing loss is a risk factor, one that can be modified to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. 

Link Between Hearing Loss & Cognitive Decline 

Research shows that there is a correlation between hearing loss and cognitive decline. Studies highlight that hearing loss can impact brain health, contributing to cognitive decline and the development of conditions like Alzheimer’s. A major study investigating the impact of hearing loss on brain health was published in the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association in 2019. To examine this link, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School assessed the hearing and cognitive capacities of 10,107 people, ages 62 and older. 

After collecting 8 years of data, researchers identified a significant link between hearing loss and cognitive decline. Compared to participants without hearing those, the cognitive decline among those with impaired hearing was: 

  • 30% higher among people with mild hearing loss 
  • 42% higher among people with moderate hearing loss 
  • 54% higher among people with severe hearing loss 

These findings highlight two important patterns: there is a significant correlation between hearing loss and cognitive decline as well as the degree of hearing loss can further heighten the risk. This supports the substantial research that identifies hearing loss as a risk factor for cognitive decline. Experts suggest that hearing loss can impact brain health in several ways. This includes shrinking the area responsible for processing auditory information as well as overloading the brain which contributes to cognitive decline. 

Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss 

Being proactive about your hearing health can help protect your brain health and reduce the risk of dementia. You can prioritize your hearing health with one simple step: scheduling an appointment for a hearing test. Hearing tests involve a painless and noninvasive process that measures hearing abilities in both ears. This identifies any hearing loss and the degree of impairment present. Comprehensively evaluating your hearing capacities establishes where your hearing health is at and what your hearing needs are. Getting your hearing tested regularly is a great way to track your hearing health and identify any changes you may experience over time. Early intervention is a key way to protect your hearing and prevent further health risks. 

Hearing aids are the most common treatment for hearing loss. These savvy electronic devices help absorb and process speech as well as sound. This provides the ears and brain with ample support, alleviating symptoms and maximizing hearing capacity. Studies show that hearing aids are incredibly beneficial. They strengthen communication, improve relationships, enrich social engagement, as well as improve brain health. The support that hearing aids provide strengthen cognitive functions and support neural networks which enhances brain health. This reduces the risk of cognitive decline and offers protection from conditions like Alzheimer’s. 

World Alzheimer’s Month is a great reminder to prioritize your hearing health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation. Our practice offers a wealth of services, resources, and comprehensive support that transforms hearing health.