According to research that was done by Johns Hopkins, it has never been more important to protect your hearing. Of course, there are some very obvious benefits to hearing well into your senior years, but the research has found that hearing may be more intricately tied to the health of your brain than previously known. In fact, there have been links that suggest that your ability to hear is directly tied to your brain mass. Here we will take a look at the studies, their results, and also ways to conserve your hearing.
How To Protect Your Hearing
One of the best ways to ensure that you have a good level of hearing throughout your life is to go to regular doctor’s checkups. They will be able to establish the baseline for your hearing health, and track it throughout your life. This means that, regardless of age, everyone should begin seeing their doctors with some degree of consistency. For people who already suffer from hearing loss, the findings that suggest that brain size is tied to hearing loss should serve as motivation to be more stalwart about their health. After all, having your hearing checked can be the difference in your mental capacity throughout your later years.
The Tie Between Hearing And Your Brain’s Health
The study that has brought all of this attention was performed by Johns Hopkins in a combined effort with The National Institute on Aging. They used a sample of 126 individuals and followed them throughout two decades. They performed annual physicals, complete with MRIs, and began to notice that there was a correlation between hearing loss and the brain size of the individuals. While brain size is known to decrease with age, the rate at which these subjects’ brains were decreasing was cause for alarm. After all, a decreased brain size is a known mechanism in dementia and diminished cognitive function.
As the study came to an end, the researchers found that there was a positive correlation between hearing loss and brain shrinkage. It confirmed their hypothesis that hearing loss was a determinate factor of decreased levels of grey matter. Thus, hearing loss puts all of the patients at a high risk for brain atrophy, which can trigger a wide variety of cognitive disorders.
This entire phenomenon of brain damage as a result of hearing loss was explained rather simply by the researchers. They say that when the brain receives damage, such as hearing loss, it attempts to compensate for the damage by rerouting necessary cell components. However, this action results in grey matter cells being deprived those components, leading to degradation. In the end, the researchers noted that individuals should take charge of their hearing health, as it could be the difference between good and bad mental health.