We Are What We Hear: Hearing Loss, Dementia and Brain Change
Dr. Ogan Gurel, MD
Life is all about change. The body and mind adapt to the world around us. An unhealthy diet tends to lead to obesity. The mind is likewise adaptable: we know that role models shape us from young and we were constantly reminded by our parents to “stay away from bad influence.” And so we are what we eat, what we see—and indeed what we hear.
Hearing loss affects many worldwide
Most of us have heard that hearing loss is a big problem, recognizing that with aging populations and an increasingly noisy world, it is only going to get worse. According to WHO (World Health Organisation), 5.3% of the world’s population has disabling hearing loss with about one-third of persons over 65 years of age being affected.
Hearing and Brain Structure
There is a strong connection between hearing and the brain: sounds are perceived in the inner ear, which are then changed into electrical signals via nerve pathways to the brain. The latest research has shown that decreased hearing ability changes the structure and function of the brain – the brain regions related to hearing and understanding language were actually smaller in people with hearing loss.
Hearing Loss and Dementia
Hearing loss is also connected to overall cognitive decline and conditions such as Dementia. While the medical community are still trying to understand how the two are connected, there are a few theories:
- People with hearing loss tend to feel isolated, since it’s hard to join in conversations or be social with others when you can’t hear.
- If you have hearing loss, your brain needs to work harder to process sound. That may take away resources that it could use for other important activities.
- If your ears can no longer pick up on as many sounds, your hearing nerves will send fewer signals to your brain. As a result, the brain declines.
You can do something about Hearing Loss: Try Hearing Aids today in Singapore
The best news is that Hearing Aids are a highly effective solution for those with hearing loss. If we are near-sighted, we don’t just blindly stumble along—but get glasses. If we have chest pain, we don’t just meekly wait for the heart attack—but seek a doctor, and strive to improve our diet and lifestyle. And likewise, when it comes to hearing, we take a hearing test and get properly fitted hearing aids that will continue to fill and inspire our minds with beautiful sounds.
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