How can hearing aids help your brain?
Whilst it is true that living with hearing loss can be a challenge, with appropriate equipment and support from your family and friends, you can lead a full and happy life. In fact, wearing hearing aids has been shown to significantly improve the quality of life for hearing-impaired individuals.
Hearing loss and dementia
A 2011 study by John Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging suggested that elderly people who suffer from hearing loss are also more likely to suffer from dementia over time.
Undiagnosed and untreated hearing loss can lead to feelings of isolation and frustration; sometimes it can even lead to depression. People with hearing loss have an accelerated rate of brain tissue loss, which contributes to the chances of dementia.
The risk of dementia was found to increase in line with the severity of the hearing loss i.e. for every 10 decibels of hearing lost, the risk of dementia increased by 20 percent.
The study found that for individuals over the age of 60, more than one third of those with dementia also had a hearing loss. Even after researchers eliminated other common factors for dementia such as age, sex, race, high blood pressure and diabetes, the connection with hearing loss remained.
Therefore, identifying a hearing loss as early as possible can contribute significantly to slowing the potential onset of dementia.
What options are there?
Hearing aids can not only assist your cognitive abilities but your overall life as well. Today’s digital hearing aids are a far cry from the bulky and sometimes unsightly analogue hearing aids of the past. They are smaller, more efficient and aesthetically more appealing. Most hearing aids can also be customised and tailored to an individual’s ear shape for improved comfort.
Hearing aids come in various styles and are specific to the severity of hearing loss. Some of the most popular styles include:
- In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids have twin microphones & offer great sound clarity. These are useful for people with moderate to severe hearing loss.
- Open ear or receiver-in-the-ear (RTE) hearing aids are discreet and generally more popular. They provide natural sound clarity and are beneficial for those with moderate hearing loss.
- Completely in the canal (CIC) hearing aids are very tiny. They don’t have manual controls and are less powerful than the above. These hearing aids are most helpful to people with mild hearing loss.
What to do next
Before you decide which hearing aids to buy, you should get your hearing tested. At Leightons Opticians and Hearing Care we offer a free hearing test which will take no more than 60-90 minutes. We will carry out a thorough lifestyle consultation and an examination using advanced audiometric procedures and state-of-the-art equipment to make sure your audiologist can build the best picture of your hearing as well as your lifestyle requirements. If you prefer, we can also carry out the hearing test in the comfort of your home.
Based on the hearing test result, your audiologist will help you find the best solution for you from our wide range of digital hearing aids, should you require them. Our free hearing aid demonstration will also give you an idea about how your hearing can improve with the new hearing aids. You will get a 30-day money back guarantee on any digital hearing aids you purchase, as well as warranties on batteries and accessories, plus a free Clean & Check service.
You are also assured of continued consultation and a tailored aftercare service valid for the entire life of the product you purchase from us. It is extremely important to remember that, unlike with new glasses, you will not get an instant finished result as soon as you put on new hearing aids. Your audiologist will need to continue to help you fine-tune your hearing aids over a period of time as you slowly get used to them, to make sure you get the best from them.
So book a hearing test online today or call us on 0800 40 20 20 and speak to one of our hearing care experts.
 Lin FR et al (2011). Hearing Loss and Incident Dementia. Arch Neurol. 68(2):214-220.