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A Healthy Brain: The Gift of Expert Hearing Care

Think of human health as a large spiderweb — a vast labyrinth of interconnected systems with profound implications for overall well-being. One connection has drawn increased attention in recent years: The link between hearing health and brain health. As we dive into the clinical realities of this relationship, one thing becomes clear — obtaining expert hearing care today not only improves your hearing but supports better brain health tomorrow. Excitingly, advancements in research now highlight a positive path where hearing health and brain health intersect, promising a future of integrated wellness.


It Starts With Untreated Hearing Loss

When you think of pervasive health issues affecting millions worldwide, hearing loss doesn’t immediately pop into mind. However, over 466 million individuals worldwide live with disabling hearing loss, a figure projected to rise in the coming decades. Despite its prevalence, hearing loss remains largely untreated. And those who seek help wait, on average, at least seven years to do so. In those seven years, it is not only your hearing that worsens. Hearing loss is linked to other health challenges — like cognitive decline — so there’s an urgent need to raise awareness of the unfortunate consequences of letting hearing loss go untreated.


Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline

The immediate impact of hearing loss on communication and quality of life is clear, but its implications for cognitive health are equally important. Studies have demonstrated a compelling association between untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline, including an increased risk of dementia. The facts? People with untreated hearing loss experience a 30%–40% accelerated rate of cognitive decline compared to their peers with normal hearing. And their risk of cognitive impairment was 24% higher.


Balance Issues and Tinnitus: Compounding the Problem

Further complicating the picture? In addition to cognitive decline, untreated hearing loss can also mingle with other hearing-related issues, such as tinnitus and balance issues. This is an especially sensitive problem for older adults with hearing loss. Balance issues, stemming from the inner ear, can significantly increase the risk of falls and injuries. Data out of Canada confirms that adults 65 years and older have a higher risk of falls and, if injured as a result, there can be serious consequences, including death.

Similarly, tinnitus, characterized by persistent ringing or buzzing in the ears, can cause further cognitive strain and diminish overall quality of life, compounding the challenges faced by folks with untreated hearing loss.


The Positive Intersection of Hearing and the Brain

Highlighting the links between hearing issues and the brain may seem negative, but it’s actually positive. Now that you know, you can take action — by treating one, you’re possibly treating the other. Addressing hearing loss stimulates your neural pathways, lessening the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. One groundbreaking study showed that treating hearing loss in those at high risk of dementia reduced the risk of cognitive decline by a staggering 48%.


Healthy Hearing = Healthy Brain

We are watching history unfold at this exciting convergence between hearing health and brain health. Though brain surgery is still, well, brain surgery, we’re fortunate that the brain has a remarkable capacity for plasticity and adaptation. We can fight back. Prioritizing early detection, intervention, and ongoing management of hearing loss helps ensure cognitive resilience in the years to come.

Better still, by embracing a holistic approach to wellness, one that considers how hearing and cognitive function are interconnected, you can take control of your health and well-being.

Contact your local hearing professional today if you suspect any hearing loss, because expert hearing care today means better brain health tomorrow.

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