#1 Treating your hearing loss protects your brain functions
The ear picks up and transmits the sounds around us. But it’s the brain that processes the signals and gives them meaning.
When you have hearing loss, the brain receives fewer sound signals from the ears and “forgets” what to do with the sound. That’s when the areas of the brain that have to do with other senses sometimes step in and help the areas of the brain that normally process hearing. So the brain essentially tries to compensate for losing the sense of hearing by rewiring its connections.
Treating your hearing loss with a hearing aid will help you keep your brain’s wiring in place so you’re less likely to experience an effect on your cognitive functions.
#2 Treating your hearing loss may reduce the risk of dementia
If you or someone close to you is struggling with Alzheimer’s or dementia, and simultaneously has an untreated hearing loss, they can find help in hearing aids. At least according to a study from University of Washington’s Department of Medicine.
In the study of 100 cases of Alzheimer’s patients, researchers found that 83% of the cases had a hearing loss. But once these patients were fitted with hearing aids, 33% of the people with hearing loss were classified with less severe dementia, rather than Alzheimer’s.
So there may be an indirect correlation between the two conditions. The good news is that being fitted with hearing aids could have a positive effect on reducing Alzheimer’s or dementia.
#3 Being able to hear prevents symptoms of depression and improves your social life
It’s not uncommon for people with hearing loss to find it more difficult to be in social situations. It’s harder to hear what’s being said at parties, and you may not feel comfortable asking people to repeat themselves.
Studies have shown that people with untreated hearing loss are more likely to experience symptoms of depression compared to those who are treating their hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids helps you hear again and is therefore a good means to reduce the likelihood of feeling depressed. Equally, getting support from friends and family has a positive effect on reducing depressive symptoms from hearing loss.
Conditions that could affect your hearing
While hearing loss could potentially lead to some diseases or ailments, other conditions are suspected of increasing the likelihood of hearing loss, including diabetes, cancer (because of chemotherapy treatment) and high blood pressure.