Patients with hearing loss in Portland might be surprised to learn that their physical impairment increases their risk for developing dementia. Patients over the age of 60 have a 35% higher risk of cognitive impairment if they suffer from hearing loss. And for each additional 10-decibel loss in hearing capacity, their risk for Alzheimer’s disease increases by 20%.
The reason for this link isn’t entirely certain, but researchers theorize that damage to the nerve cells responsible for hearing may be “a kind of marker for similar damage to nerve cells involved in memory and higher cognition, according to neurologist Dr. Richard P. Lipton. He also believes the self-imposed social isolation many people with hearing loss experience results in less cognitive engagement and a corresponding increase in Alzheimer’s.
If you suffer from hearing loss, there are steps you can take to help prevent dementia. Daily brain exercises can keep you mentally stimulated and your brain active; just fifteen minutes of rigorous brain exercise a day has been shown to help.
Wearing hearing aids can give you the confidence needed to participate in more social activities, which in turn can help prevent cognitive decline, as well. If you are experiencing hearing loss in Portland and have not taken steps to treat it, doing so sooner rather than later will help prevent future mental health issues such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.