We all know that our hearing keeps us connected to the world. Without our hearing, it is easy to become disconnected and isolated from others, a grave concern for the senior population. There is an abundance of attention in research and publications looking at and reviewing the correlation between hearing loss and brain health.
Related Blog: Five Ways to Save Your Ears
Understanding and preventing hearing loss
Our ears are both simple and complex. While there are only three different parts, each plays a crucial role in our hearing. There are four types of hearing loss, and each one correlates to an area, or areas, of the ear that suffers damage.
It's vital that we guard our hearing, and take preventive measures against its loss. Here are the causes that we see and treat more often at the Silverstein Institute:
Presbycusis is the hearing loss from degenerative changes of aging on the inner ear.
The middle ear is the area that houses the eardrum and the 3 ossicles (tiny bones of hearing). When one of these bones is fixed, it blocks the travel of sounds to the inner ear. Known as otosclerosis, it is surgically correctable. One can use a hearing aid as well.
As glaucoma causes damaging pressure to build up in our eyes, Meniere's disease is when there is damaging pressure in the inner ear. There is an array of debilitating symptoms that comes along with this inner ear disease, including vertigo affects, hearing loss, and tinnitus.
Any ear infection requires medical attention, especially an infection of the middle ear that is commonly known to result in hearing loss. The earlier an ear infection is caught and treated, the better chance of avoiding any loss of hearing.
How healthy hearing keeps your brain healthy
When we talk about brain health, there are so many different things that affect the health of our brains. As we age, our brain function begins to deteriorate over time. We must do everything we can to keep our brains in the best of health, and hearing plays a big part in good brain health.
Important for Communication and Interaction
No matter our age, being able to listen, communicate, and interact plays a vital role in our well-being. As we age, the ability to hear what our family, friends, and physicians have to say helps us stay connected.
Keep the Brain Active and Busy
Hearing is essential to keeping the brain working to take in messages and respond. Whether having a conversation, listening to the radio, or watching the television, the brain stays active, processing what is seen and heard.
Brain Degeneration and Cognitive Decline
With severe hearing loss, it's easy for people to withdraw and not communicate. This can allow the brain to degenerate, more and more, overtime.
Treating hearing loss will not prevent cognitive disorders, such as dementia or Alzheimer's. However, reviewed by Harvard Health Publishing, certain factors play a part in "protecting against cognitive decline." While it's up to an individual to exercise regularly, consume a healthy diet, and get adequate sleep, our hearing plays a vital role in "mental stimulation" and "social contacts."
The Silverstein Institute, located in Sarasota, Florida, specializes in the diseases of the Ears, Nose, and Throat. Our entire staff is here to not only offer compassionate care, but we're also here to offer the highest standard in medical treatment for loss of hearing, and to help you maintain good brain health.