Eyes, ears, and brains are all connected. If you’re having trouble hearing or seeing, this may increase your risk of memory loss and dementia.
All Eyes and Ears on Brain Health
As we grow older even “healthy aging” includes changes in every part of our body. Some of these changes can be accelerated by lifestyle factors such as poor diet, lack of exercise and inadequate sleep.
What about the changes happening to our senses like hearing and vision? Hearing and vision certainly can change over the course of a lifetime but their decline should not be ignored and dismissed to “old age”. Untreated hearing and vision loss is now considered a modifiable risk for dementia, meaning there’s something you can do about it to help lower your risk.
Did you know that midlife hearing loss is related to a higher risk of dementia? Mild hearing loss is associated with 2 times the risk and severe hearing loss is associated with 5 times the risk.
This doesn’t mean hearing loss causes dementia. Scientists point to the social isolation aspect of hearing loss as one of the reasons why. Missing pieces of conversations can be frustrating and make you more withdrawn and less engaged.
And, during the course of hearing loss, the hearing centers in the brain begin to decline and the brain must find ways to overcome this loss of sensory input.
I see but it’s not 20/20
Good vision too, helps our brains process the world around us and becomes an important factor in depth perception, balance and movement. Addressing cataracts, glaucoma, and vision loss can help your brain perform at it’s best and promote healthy aging. Good vision is a key component to maintaining safe driving skills and preventing falls.
Every Improvement Helps
Our brains rely on and process lots of sensory input in order to think, remember and perform everyday tasks. This is why it’s important to address any sensory condition that can be improved, like hearing and vision loss.
Making many small modifications to your lifestyle can add up to your brain performing at it’s best. So, don’t overlook that annual eye and hearing exam, it may be a vital part of your brain health wellness.