Am I Losing My Mind? Have you noticed it takes a little longer lately to understand what someone is saying? Is your response usually “What?”, then, a few seconds later it’s as if a light switch turns on, something clicks, and it suddenly makes sense? When you have hearing loss, asking someone to repeat themselves can become a habit. But what if the lack of understanding is a slow-down in how the brain is working, or even short-term memory loss? A common question patients ask is whether hearing loss and memory loss are related. New research from Johns Hopkins University and National Institute on Aging (Archives of Neurology, Feb 2011) found that seniors with hearing loss were much more likely to develop dementia over time. The greater the hearing loss, the stronger the relationship. It is hypothesized that the lack of consistent language stimulation is a major contributor to dementia. I call this “the use it or lose it law.” Hearing loss happens so gradually you may not recognize it. In fact, someone else may have recognized it before you did. During those years your hearing was declining, it may be that your brain was not receiving the full stimulation it needed, and therefore, began to deteriorate. The Johns Hopkins study doesn’t answer the question of whether hearing loss might be a cause of dementia or if hearing loss simply accompanies dementia. It also doesn’t answer the question of whether hearing aids might be able to decrease the likelihood of dementia. It seems clear that once you have recognized that a hearing loss exists, the next best step is to start using hearing aids. Why risk it? Make sure you are hearing your loved ones, and your brain is staying stimulated. There are so many things we can’t control, but this is a “no-brainer”. Do something that not only improves your everyday quality of life, but has the potential to increase your brain’s ability to make sense of words far into the future. Make an appointment today and invest in your future. Call now at (847) 432-5555 or comprehensive audiological service.