Hearing loss is a common part of aging. Just like eyesight, our hearing may weaken over time. The ability to hear is a crucial part of our functionality in life, and hearing loss can have more detrimental effects than one might think. In fact, hearing loss in older people can be linked to dementia.
Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
There are different types of hearing loss. Two main ones are conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. While conductive hearing loss is due to something blocking sound from the inner ear, like ear wax, sensorineural hearing loss is due to damage to the inner ear itself. Age-related hearing loss is called Presbycusis. Tinnitus, the condition in which one hears an internal ringing in the ears, is linked with sensorineural hearing loss. It often happens when exposed to a very loud noise. For some, though, the ringing persists. Those with Tinnitus may or may not have hearing loss and vice versa.
Hearing and Dementia
Whether one has Tinnitus or hearing loss, there is a real effect on the brain over time. Tinnitus, with its incessant ringing, can induce depression, sleeplessness, lack of concentration, and more. Hearing loss alone can cause depression, general confusion, and social withdrawal as well. In older patients, both Tinnitus and hearing loss can lead to dementia. Because the brain cannot process information as it would, it begins to cope by shutting off certain functions, like memory and concentration. This can lend the brain toward dementia.
Dementia is not a disease, but can be caused by many diseases and impairments. It is a collection of symptoms having to do with the lack of function in the brain. Its main symptoms include short-term memory loss and trouble keeping track of things, problem-solving, thinking clearly, and making plans. The brain gradually atrophies, that is, the brain cells die out. Unfortunately, there is yet no cure for dementia.
Call to Action
The best way to prevent hearing loss from leading to dementia is to see an audiologist and get hearing aids as soon as possible. Often, people go for years with untreated hearing loss, not realizing the damaging effects that time can heighten. It is important for this person to have a family member who will graciously come alongside to support in his or her hearing journey.
Trust the Experts at Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions
Need help with your hearing? Clarity Hearing can help. Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions is an independently owned and operated clinic that focuses on quality of care and personalized, friendly service to the surrounding areas of Ellicott City, Catonsville, Columbia. Our Doctors of Audiology are highly trained with advanced degrees and take the time to provide the personalized care and attention that you need and deserve. We provide advanced hearing aid options that personally calibrated with cutting-edge digital technology to fit your hearing loss, your unique ear anatomy, and your individual listening needs.
Come in for a walk-in appointment on Tuesdays & Fridays from 10:00 am to 11:30 am or contact us to schedule an appointment by calling 410-698-6594 or visiting our contact page. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn for more blog posts, news, and updates!