According to public opinion, hearing loss is a sign of old age. But, hearing loss can strike at any time of life. I was born with a hearing loss, and my sister was diagnosed in her late 20s with one.
What many people don’t know is that hearing loss can actually lead to faster aging. Modern studies are showing that those who have untreated hearing loss see a much faster age-related decline in cognitive abilities.
In 2011, Johns Hopkins University did a study that monitored and recorded the cognitive health of 639 people with hearing loss who had sharp mental faculties at the inception of the study. They followed most participants for 12-18 years and tested them regularly. The final results showed that the worse the initial hearing loss was, the greater likelihood that person would develop dementia. Compared with people with no hearing loss, those with moderate hearing loss were three times more likely to develop dementia. Other studies have shown that number to be as high as five times the likelihood to develop dementia over a normal hearing person.
Your ears are the gateway to your brain and brain health. It is vitally important to keep them healthy. The sooner you come in for a hearing check, the sooner you will catch your hearing loss, and the more hearing you will likely be able to keep. Hearing works in much the same way the entire body does: If you don’t use it, you lose it. The longer you go without hearing aids for your loss, the more of your hearing you are likely to lose.
Hearing loss affects more than just brain function. It has been linked to depression, a 3-fold increase in falling risk, a 32% higher hospitalization rate, and a higher overall mortality rate.
That is why it is so important to get a hearing check every five years or so, once you reach 55-60. By the time a generation is in its 70s, two thirds of its population already has a hearing loss. And only about 20% of those with hearing loss seek help in the form of hearing aids.
Us baby boomers are a unique generation. We’re known for breaking traditional molds and living life on our own terms. If you are a boomer, like me, you want to stay as young and as active as possible. I still play in rock bands and run around with my grandchildren. And if I ever retire, my wife will probably be so shocked she’ll faint.
If you are anything like me, it is vitally important you start to check your hearing every few years as you mature. Unlike our parents’ generation, we will not go gently into that good night. And our fight should start with regular hearing checks. Because good hearing is so important to healthy brain function. Plus, check out our testimonial page – music sounds amazing with Siemens Binax hearing aids!
You must use your brain if you want to keep it young and working properly.