Hearing Health Blog

“Woman

Susan is living the active lifestyle she always knew she would in retirement. At 68, she’s now visited over 12 countries and has lots more on her list. On some days you’ll find her exploring a hiking trail with her grandkids, on others she will be volunteering at a local hospital, and sometimes you will see her out enjoying the lake.

Susan always has something new to do or see. But sometimes, Susan can’t help but worry about how dementia or cognitive decline could really change her life.

Her mother exhibited first signs of dementia when she was around Susan’s age. Over a 15 year period, Susan watched as the woman who had always taken care of her and loved her unconditionally struggled with what seemed to be simple tasks. She’s becoming forgetful. Eventually, she could only recognize Susan on a good day.

Susan has tried to eat a healthy diet and exercise so she could hopefully steer clear of what her mother experienced. But she wonders, is she doing enough? Is there anything else she can do that’s been shown to slow cognitive decline and dementia?

Luckily, there are things that can be done to prevent cognitive decline. Here are just three.

1. Get Exercise

This one was already part of Susan’s everyday life. She does try to get the suggested amount of exercise every day.

Individuals who do modest exercise daily have a decreased risk of mental decline according to many studies. This same research shows that individuals who are already experiencing some form of mental decline also have a positive impact from consistent exercise.

Here are a number of reasons why researchers think regular exercise can stave off mental decline.

  1. As a person gets older, the nervous system deteriorates and consistent exercise can slow this. The brain uses these nerves to communicate with the body, process memories, and think about how to do things. Exercise slows this breakdown so scientists believe that it could also slow mental decline.
  2. Exercise may increase the production of neuroprotection factors. Your body has functions that safeguard certain types of cells from harm. Scientists think that an individual who exercises may produce more of these protectors.
  3. The risk of cardiovascular disease is reduced by exercising. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to cells in the brain. If cardiovascular disease blocks this blood flow, cells die. By keeping the heart and vessels healthy, exercise might be able to slow down dementia.

2. Have Vision Concerns Treated

An 18-year study of 2000 individuals with cataracts, demonstrated that getting cataract surgery halved the occurrence of cognitive decline in the group who had them removed.

While this study focused on one common cause for eyesight loss, this study backs the fact that preserving eyesight as you age is important for your mental health.

People often begin to seclude themselves from friends and retreat from things they enjoy when they lose their eyesight at an older age. The connection between cognitive decline and social isolation is the focus of other studies.

Getting cataracts treated is essential. If you can take steps to improve your vision, you’ll also be protecting yourself against the advancement of dementia.

3. Get Hearing Aids

If you have untreated hearing loss, you could be on your way to cognitive decline. A hearing aid was given to 2000 people by the same researchers that performed the cataract study. They used the same techniques to test for the progression of mental decline.

The results were even more significant. Mental decline was reduced by 75% in the people who received hearing aids. So the dementia symptoms they were already experiencing simply stopped.

There are some likely reasons for this.

The social component is the first thing. People tend to go into seclusion when they have neglected hearing loss because interacting with friends at restaurants and clubs becomes a struggle.

Additionally, a person gradually forgets how to hear when they begin to lose their hearing. The degeneration progressively affects other parts of the brain the longer the person waits to get their hearing aids.

In fact, researchers have actually compared the brains of people with neglected hearing loss to people who wear hearing aids using an MRI. The brain actually shrinks in individuals with neglected hearing loss.

Clearly, your mental ability and memory are going to start to slip under these conditions.

If you have hearing aids, wear them to stave off dementia. If you’re procrastinating on getting a hearing aid, even with hearing loss, it’s time to contact us for a hearing assessment. Find out about today’s technologically sophisticated designs that help you hear better.

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References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3258000/
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2018/10/11/hearing-aids-slow-dementia-75-new-study-finds/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6581941/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5764000/
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/the-hidden-risks-of-hearing-loss
https://www.helpingmehear.com/hearing-aids-facts/

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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