Hearing loss may put you at risk for depression, dementia

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If you’re on the fence about getting your hearing tested, new research might convince you to make an appointment with an audiologist.

First, research has demonstrated that people with unmanaged hearing loss experience a decline in their cognitive skills far earlier than those with normal hearing.

The landmark study at John Hopkins University reported that people with a mild degree of hearing loss were twice as likely to develop dementia as those with normal hearing.

Those with moderate hearing loss were three times more likely, while the probability increased to five times for those with severe hearing loss.

Researchers theorized that the brain must expend more energy and time analyzing and processing sound, thus affecting your ability to think, reason, and remember.

Second, a survey of hearing impaired adults over age 50 by The National Council on the Aging found that those with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and were less likely to participate in organized social activities, compared to those who wear hearing aids.

Audiologists see this in our practices all the time—patients who come in on anti-depressants experiencing feelings of isolation, loneliness and even paranoia–can see improvement in their mental health after being outfitted with a hearing aid.

Hearing loss is no longer considered a harmless and inevitable consequence of aging—left untreated, it can be dangerous to your mental health. But affordable treatment is now available and it can be life changing.

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