It turns out people have more reasons than ever to protect their hearing as they grow into their senior years. Recent medical studies have found that there is a greater link than previously imagined between hearing loss and your body’s health. In particular, they found that people who suffer from hearing loss are more susceptible to suffering from different forms of brain atrophy and dementia. This article will explore the studies that unveiled this data, what the risks are, and how to protect your hearing for as long as possible.
How To Safeguard Hearing Abilities
There are many basic ways to protect your hearing as you grow older. Avoiding extremely loud noises and prolonged exposure to noise in general are a few of them. One of the other easiest ways to go about saving your hearing is to visit a doctor frequently throughout your life. They will be able to establish a baseline reading on your hearing and note any significant changes that occur throughout the years. If you are a person who already suffers from hearing loss, it is important to continue seeing the doctor and to notify them if there are any acute changes to your hearing ability.
Hearing Affects Your Health
The study that revealed all of the new information about the links between hearing and health was undertaken by The National Institute on Aging in a combined effort with Johns Hopkins University. They took a sample size of 126 people over a period of two decades, and gave them annual MRIs as well as physicals to note changes. They found that the people who reported hearing loss during the time of the study also had decreases in their overall brain size. The researchers had expected normal levels of brain atrophy as they normally find in aging patients, but the readings far outpaced those.
It is known within the medical community that brain atrophy and size loss is one of the primary mechanisms by which dementia and other cognitive disorders take place. The study continued and found that there was a positive correlation between hearing loss and brain shrinkage. They concluded that people with higher levels of hearing loss also suffered advanced levels of brain atrophy. This left the hearing impaired community at a much higher risk for dementia and other disorders.
The brain atrophy caused by hearing loss can be explained rather simply. When the brain begins to shrink in an area as important as that which controls hearing, it diverts energy and resources to that part of the brain. This causes grey matter degeneration in the area where the brain took the nutrients. This results in acute losses in grey matter, and causes many of the mental faculty losses that usually occur in much older patients. Overall, the scientists suggested that everyone should take greater steps to save their hearing.