Have you ever wondered how hearing loss is affecting your brain? You might be shocked to learn that struggling to hear has been linked to poor brain health, including rapid cognitive decline and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. September is World Alzheimer’s Month, a time when people all around the world come together to raise awareness of how Alzheimer’s Disease is affecting you and your brain. This month, take the time to find out how hearing loss is affecting your brain.
Hearing Loss and the Brain
The brain is the most complex organ in the human body. With over 100 billion neurons, the brain is responsible for making sure our bodies are operating properly. Each of the neurons in the brain is connected to thousands of others, forming incredibly complex communication networks between areas of the brain that are involved in everything you do, such as thinking, learning, remembering, moving, seeing, or hearing. Your brain needs huge amounts of fuel and oxygen to do its job, as well as good food and proper exercise.
When you have hearing loss, some cells in the brain aren’t able to function properly. For example, if you can’t hear high pitched sounds, the cells in your brain responsible for processing those sounds don’t have a job to do, since the ears aren’t able to pick up on these sounds in your environment. These cells are no longer being activated, and eventually these cells will either die or get taken over for some other task. When your brain loses cells, these neural networks are severely weakened. Your hearing will continue to deteriorate, and your brain won’t be as healthy as it once was.
How Alzheimer’s Disease Changes the Brain
Much like hearing loss, Alzheimer’s Disease also damages the neurons in the brain, making it difficult for the brain to do its job, or communicate effectively between different areas of the brain. However, Alzheimer’s Disease can affect any area of the brain, and the first cells affected are often in the parts of the brain responsible for memory and language. Scientists believe that in Alzheimer’s Disease, plaques and tangles are responsible for damaging and destroying cells in the brain. These two kinds of proteins block neurons from receiving nutrients, and disrupt communication with other cells.
As these cells are damaged or destroyed, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s will become clear, such as problems with memory, difficulty performing the daily tasks of life, communicating effectively, or even personality changes. By the time you or your loved ones notice the signs of Alzheimer’s, your brain will have already experienced a lot of damage, and many cells will have been destroyed.
Treating Alzheimer’s Disease
Sadly, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. While researchers have some understanding of what causes Alzheimer’s, they don’t have a way of preventing or stopping dementia. But don’t despair! There are many ways you can help your brain, and slow the onset of Alzheimer’s. Scientists and doctors recommend keeping your brain active, since this will enhance brain function, and increase mental wellbeing. One effective way of slowing Alzheimer’s is treating your hearing loss.
Treating Hearing Loss
Have you been struggling to hear, experiencing difficulties in communicating, or feeling isolated from your loved ones? If you want to protect your brain, and have healthy neural pathways as you age, one of the best things you can do is treat your hearing loss as soon as possible. The longer you live with hearing loss, the more neurons will be damaged, and this weakens your brain. Not only that, but living with untreated hearing loss makes you less likely to exercise your brain, since you won’t have as much social interaction with family and friends, may stop leaving the house, going across town, or doing the things you love.
For a healthy brain, visit us at Able Hearing for a hearing test. Our team of training hearing specialists will assess your level of hearing loss, and identify which sounds you are struggling to hear. Based on your hearing needs, lifestyle, and budget, we’ll help you find the perfect hearing aids that will get you back to clear hearing. Do the right thing for your brain, and book your appointment today.