(WYTV) – If you find yourself having trouble following conversations around you, or you have issues with memory and thinking skills, you might 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 on.

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,” says Dr. Ronald Peterson, neurologist.

We don’t really understand why.

If people experience hearing loss over many years, certain parts of the brain may shrink — particularly the temporal lobe, which is involved in hearing, language and memory.

It could also be that hearing loss leads to social isolation, which can lead to an increased risk for dementia.

It’s advisable to get your hearing checked every 2 to 3 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.