(WYTV)- If you find yourself having trouble following conversations around you or you have issues with memory and thinking skills, you may want to get your hearing checked.

Several large studies have looked at people who have been losing their hearing later in life and what might happen to them later than that. The news is not good.

“Individuals who have a degree of hearing loss even in midlife have an increased risk of developing dementia later in life,” said Dr. Ronald Peterson of the Mayo Clinic.

We don’t really understand why. If people have a hearing loss over many years, certain parts of the brain, in particular the temporal lobe involved in hearing, language and memory, may actually shrink.
It also could be that hearing loss leads to social isolation, and that can lead to an increased risk in dementia.

The recommendation: get your hearing checked every two to three years when you’re older, especially if you’re having trouble understanding the sounds around you.

The fix could be as simple as the doctor removing excess earwax, or you may need a hearing aid.