Let me introduce myself.
My name is Patricia Faust, and I am a gerontologist. That simply means that I study and address issues around aging. As such, I have decided to specialize in brain aging and brain health.
So, what does that mean?
Our brain starts aging from the moment we are born. When we hit our mid-twenties, the automatic growth of neurons (brain cells) stops. We have a lot of extra cells, and we get along just fine until we are in our forties.
Then we start to notice that we have memory slips, and our brain just doesn’t work as fast as it used to. There are many reasons for this decline, but I want to talk about hearing loss and what happens to the brain.
Hearing Loss Is Now Considered An Aging Issue.
There are many pushes in government to pay for hearing aids because untreated hearing loss puts you at a very high risk for developing dementia.
That is not an exaggeration.
You may notice that you are not hearing conversations in noisy areas, you need to keep turning up the TV volume to hear what is going on, and you and your wife or husband might be arguing more with each other because you didn’t hear the original statement.
Many people joke around about that and claim that is the secret to their long marriage. In reality, it might be the undoing of their long marriage.
Why is it so important to hear clear signals coming into your brain? Most of your memories come into your brain by way of the auditory system.
The brain needs clear signals to embed or consolidate those new memories. If the signal is fuzzy, the brain decides that the signal is not clear enough to work with. So, the memory process does not happen. The brain struggles to make sense of that signal and in doing so, it slows down.
Slower speed of processing is an aging issue and hearing loss contributes to that immensely. Eventually, you will not communicate as well as you should because the brain is taking too long to work efficiently.
When the brain continues to be under this much stress, it continues to lose neurons and synapsis (connections) that facilitate communication. Then guess what? You are suffering with dementia.
The solution is so simple. Get hearing aids to prevent this entire cascade of loss.
Your brain needs to work for you until the day you die. You have control over that – by treating your hearing loss. As a FYI – I wear a hearing aid. There is no way I want any of these outcomes because I refused to get a hearing aid. This is an easy fix that gives you so much back.