Your Hearing and Your Brain: What You Need to Know
If there is a significant way to lower your risk of dementia, it may come as a surprise to you that protecting your hearing takes first place, far ahead of exercising and maintaining an active social life. According to recent studies, even mild deficits in auditory input can lead to cognitive decline and speed up the onset and severity of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Simply put, preventing and treating hearing loss keeps your brain healthy. Similar to the way that movement keeps our muscles from atrophying, our brains require optimal hearing to maintain our most basic cognitive abilities, including clear thinking, planning, and recalling. While researchers are still discovering the nuanced relationship between hearing and brain health, it seems that as we work harder to hear, our brains diverts resources away from the vital cognitive functions that keep us sharp and aware.
Moreover, the increased risk of dementia does not seem to discriminate against age — even young adults with minimally compromised hearing display atypical brain activity that can have long-term consequences. In fact, research indicates that even slight hearing deficiencies are responsible for the biggest drops in cognitive decline. Considering how many years adults today have ahead of them, intervening early is especially crucial.
The simplest way to prevent and/or minimize the risks of dementia for you and your loved ones is to make hearing health a family priority. Scheduling yearly hearing tests and treating and preventing hearing loss is proving to be a prescription for a longer, healthier life. As always, we look forward to providing you and your loved ones with quality, customized care.