The best way to fight cognitive decline in the later years of life may just be to keep your ears and eyes strong.
About 10% of Americans have some degree of hearing loss at the age of 40. That number increases significantly as we age – about 33% of those over 65 and nearly 50% of those over 75 have a hearing impairment. Older brains don’t function as sharply as younger ones – some level of cognitive decline is inevitable. However, new research suggests we don’t have to take this decline lying down.
Did you know that for those older than 60 years, the risk of dementia is closely related to the severity of hearing loss? Research indicates that hearing difficulties, social isolation and shared brain function pathways may require that more cognitive resources be applied to hear, reducing those available for working memory.
Did you know... 67% of emergency room visits by adults ages 65+ are for falls? Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths for older adults.
Research indicates the reason why hearing loss can increase the risk of falls. Those with hearing challenges may have:
- More difficulty in focusing reduced attention capacity on safely finding their way
- Poorer postural balance, an important factor in standing and walking stability.
- Shared pathways between hearing and balance-related brain structures.
- Fewer sensory cues in daily surroundings which help with spatial orientation and hazard avoidance.
Many people think hearing problems affect only the person experiencing them, but anyone who knows and loves someone with the condition knows that’s not the case.
Hearing loss affects communication – a foundation of any relationship – whether it be with family, friends or significant others. There are nearly 50 million Americans with hearing loss, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America. With estimates showing only 25% of those needing hearing aids wear them, that equates to many relationships suffering due to hearing loss.
Did you know that there are many health connections that can be connected to hearing loss? These hearing loss comorbidities are conditions that have links to hearing loss, meaning if you have these health issues, you may be at a higher risk for hearing loss, and vice versa.
Age-related hearing loss affects more men than women and while permanent, is treatable with hearing devices.