January is usually a time for resolutions. Have you committed to anything new this year? Are you going to make healthier food choices or commit to being more adventurous? Have you considered making your hearing health a priority? Did you know that studies have found a link between hearing loss and a higher risk of dementia? If you are unaware of this correlation, we encourage you to Google the phrase “hearing loss and dementia.” One of the top responses returned by looking up this phrase is from Johns Hopkins Medicine. If you visit their site the first line you will come to is this:
“Hearing loss is frustrating for those who have it and for their loved ones. But recent research from Johns Hopkins reveals that it also is linked with walking problems, falls and even dementia.
In a study that tracked 639 adults for nearly 12 years, Johns Hopkins expert Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D., and his colleagues found that mild hearing loss doubled dementia risk. Moderate loss tripled risk, and people with a severe hearing impairment were five times more likely to develop dementia.”
In general, hearing loss happens gradually, and can go unnoticed for quite some time. It is recommended that adults between the ages of 45 and 60 have a baseline hearing test. Once you have established your current hearing thresholds, you and your audiologist can devise a plan regarding how frequently you should have your hearing retested. Many factors can impact your hearing, so having a professional assist you with your hearing healthcare journey is highly recommended.
If an aidable hearing loss is detected, it is important to seek treatment sooner rather than later. While your ears collect the sounds, it is your brain that interprets the sounds. Making sure that you are doing all you can to maintain the integrity of the auditory nerve (the signal to your brain) and stimulating your brain is a very important part of your overall health. While hearing aids cannot stop dementia, you may reduce your risk by treating your hearing loss.
Make your hearing healthcare a top priority this year. Schedule your hearing healthcare check-up and make it a regular part of your ongoing healthcare routine.