Dementia is the general term used for the loss of thinking related abilities, including language, memory, and problem-solving abilities. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form dementia takes, causing between 60-80% of all dementia cases. Odds are, dementia already affects someone you know, and the Alzheimers' Society of Canada says the number of people affected will triple within the next 30 years.
Dementia affects all aspects of a person's life and can be very scary for them, as well as for the people that love them. It is a progressive disease, meaning that it gets worse as time goes on. It is irreversible, but you can mitigate your riskof getting it. Early diagnosis and intervention can make a huge difference in treatment and is very important. If you suspect that you or someone you know may be suffering from dementia, it's vital that you take action quickly.
Untreated hearing loss can be a huge risk factor for dementia. Studies have shown that untreated hearing loss can increase the risk for developing dementia by 5 times. When we can't hear, our brains try to compensate for the information we are missing out on.
Hearing loss can also make someone isolate themselves, whether they're worried about embarrassing themselves by not hearing what's going on, or if they just find it easier not to try to join in. Unfortunately, social isolation can also contribute to your risk of dementia.
On average, those who need hearing aids wait 10 years before getting hearing aids. That's a long time to struggle communicating with friends and family, and a long time for your brain to be working extra hard. Addressing hearing loss early can help your brain stay young, as it won't have to work so hard to keep up with the world around you.
Dementia can be scary, but treating hearing loss is one way that you can delay your risk. Remember, caring for your hearing is caring for your brain health.