All of us love to listen to music and frankly, I believe anyone who’s even reading this loves the feeling of listening to loud music frequently. Who doesn’t love to listen to Bruno Mars rocking it out with Uptown Funk or even the classics like The King Of Pop Michael Jackson singing Beat It that makes your core just go wild with dancing?
Frankly, I just happen to be in your shoes as well, but we should also take note that hearing loss affects all of us and subsequently, it’s important to understand the damage that it can cause us. One of them is our brain and frankly, we should deliberately take care of the one part of our body that can never be replaced.
What is the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline?
Hearing loss and cognitive decline have a closely linked relationship. A study conducted by the American Academy of Audiology concluded that hearing loss not only affects our social and emotional well-being, but it can also lead to cognitive decline. People with untreated hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia than those without impaired hearing.
This is because when we lose our ability to hear, the sound signals that enter our brains become distorted or difficult for us to interpret correctly. This causes problems with task performance, communication, and other executive functions of the brain like remembering facts or instructions. The result is a lower quality of life due to difficulty understanding what’s being said in conversations as well as slower processing speed which may affect learning abilities.
Causes of Hearing Loss – Factors that affect hearing ability (age, injury, etc)
Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors. Age is the most common cause, with age-related hearing loss occurring in up to 25% of adults over the age of 65. This is because adults usually begin to lose their hearing as they grow older, which is known as presbycusis.
Presbycusis is caused by a combination of factors, including damage to the tiny hair cells in the inner ear that transmit sound signals to your brain. In a study conducted in 2013 by “Johns Hopkins University”, researchers found that with age, the number of these hair cells decreased by more than half. This can lead to a decrease in hearing, as well as a decrease in sensitivity to sound.
Another factor that can contribute to age-related hearing loss is exposure to loud noises over long periods. Exposure to loud noises can lead to what is known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). In fact, according to the National Institute on “Deafness and Other Communication Disorders”, even short-term exposure to loud sounds can be damaging.
In addition to noise, another factor that may contribute to hearing loss is genetic conditions such as meningitis, measles, mumps, or rubella. A person can also suffer from sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) due to a stroke or tumor.
Treatments for Hearing Loss
Fortunately, there are numerous treatments for hearing loss such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, and medications. Hearing aids are the most common treatment and come in different sizes, styles, and levels of amplification. They amplify sound waves that enter the ear so they become louder, making it easier to hear conversations.
Cochlear implants are surgically implanted electronic devices that provide a sense of sound to those with severe hearing loss. The implant consists of a microphone, speech processor, and electrodes that are implanted into the cochlea. The implant is activated by a device worn behind the ear, transmitting sound signals to the inner ear via Bluetooth technology.
Medications may also be prescribed to treat hearing loss caused by infections or other medical conditions such as Meniere’s disease. However, medications do not work as well in older patients due to age-related changes in the inner ear.
In more ways than one, hearing loss is an isolating experience. Not being able to hear is detrimental to our mental health as it brings along feelings of loneliness and confusion. Therefore, we should always find treatment earliest as possible.
If you are worried, please do get your hearing tested as soon as possible, or consult our specialists, and we will be more than able to advise you accordingly.