Untreated Hearing Loss Hurts the Brain

By some estimates, half of all adults over sixty-five have some type of hearing loss, though they are by no means at all deaf. And, when seniors cross over into their seventies, that percentage rises to eighty-three percent.



Home Health Care in Libertyville IL: Untreated Hearing Loss

Home Health Care in Libertyville IL: Untreated Hearing Loss


Many people will have hearing difficulties while they are still in middle age.

According to John Hopkins research, 27 million adults over the age of forty-nine have some hearing loss, though, in many cases, it will be mild.

If you were on the fence about whether to insist on treating your father’s hearing loss, here’s a good new reason: Hearing loss can hurt the brain.


Hearing Loss Is a Dementia Risk

Unfortunately, the problems surrounding hearing loss don’t end where you have to repeat yourself, possibly three times. Scientists have discovered an alarming connection between hearing loss and brain atrophy.

A twelve-year study of 639 patients showed that hearing loss can double the chances of getting dementia. The risks are two-prong. First, the brain needs to work out the cells that process sound. If this part of the brain doesn’t get used, it can atrophy.

Studies also show that people with hearing loss often withdraw socially. And social isolation is known to cause dementia independently of other factors.


Other Risks

When seniors struggle to follow a conversation, scientists call that “effortful listening.” When just following the words becomes that much trouble, the brain devotes too many resources to decoding sounds.

That effort robs the brain of resources it needs to do other things, like remember something relevant. The senior with hearing loss could be working so hard to understand you that he doesn’t respond appropriately. This is why hearing loss is sometimes confused with cognitive loss.

When a senior with hearing loss is taking a walk, his brain may be working so hard to process sound that it neglects the need for balance. So hearing loss becomes a fall risk.


How to Talk Dad Into Getting His Hearing Checked

There is a perceived social disadvantage to wearing hearing aids. That said, modern hearing aids are a lot less conspicuous than the aids of the past. And they don’t make noises like the hearing aids of thirty years ago.

If a parent is resisting getting checked and treated for hearing loss, it’s a good idea to show him pictures of what new hearing aids look like. These pictures should show the device inside the ear.

It may also help to advise your parents how many leaders and celebrities wear hearing aids. Pete Townsend, Holly Hunter, and former President of the United States Bill Clinton all wear hearing aids, and it doesn’t make them uncool.

In helping your parents retain hearing, home health care can be a tremendous advantage. Home health care aides can advise you if they notice a loss of hearing. They can also help with getting to appointments with audiologists and making your senior feel comfortable with a new hearing aid.


In conclusion, untreated hearing loss might be more dangerous than you think. If your mother or father shows signs of struggling to hear, it’s time to take action. Encourage them to discover the cause of the loss. And reassure him that treatment, via a hearing aid, is the coolest thing they can do.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Home Health Care in Libertyville, IL, call the caring staff at LifeCare Home Health & In-Home Services. Call (888) 606-4199 LifeCare serves all of the Chicago Metro Area.






LifeCare Home Health & In-Home Services