Healthy Aging and Hearing Loss

Suppose you recently learned that your young grandson or granddaughter has just been diagnosed with a hearing loss. How would you react? You would probably scurry about and do everything possible to help the child, even if it meant investing a substantial number of dollars to get them fit with hearing aids. You would do that because you know they need to hear well to excel in school, interact with their friends and family, and grow up healthy and happy without a burdensome impediment to learning and everyday communication.

But then suppose what you would do, if you, or a middle-aged friend, received a similar report indicating hearing loss? The all-too-common response is delay, denial; put it off as long as possible. But why? Is it less important for adults than for children?

There’s no real difference in the importance of these scenarios other than age. Yet regrettably ‘older’ for some people means they should dismiss the significance of hearing loss. In fact, numerous recent research studies show how much hearing loss is associated with cognitive decline in older persons. So, it’s particularly important for hearing loss to not go untreated at any age! The evidence of these studies, particularly those headed up by Dr. Frank Lin at Johns Hopkins University, indicates that even a mild untreated hearing loss correlates to substantially higher risks of dementia and more rapid aging of the brain. The effect is unambiguous and significant – a five fold increase in tendencies towards cognitive decline. More significant hearing loss shows even higher correlations.

Clearly more public education is needed on the importance of the ‘invisible’ problem of hearing loss that may affect as many as 50 million Americans. A number of promising campaigns are underway to encourage Family Physicians to recognize the significance of hearing loss, and not to reflexively dismiss it as a natural part of the aging process. Healthy aging means rich socializations and purposeful brain fitness activities. These require expanded efforts to minimize hearing loss. That’s been the continuous mission of the Family Hearing Centers for over 50 years.

If believe you or a loved one is suffering from a hearing loss, contact us today to schedule your hearing evaluation.