The Strong Correlation Between Hearing Loss & Dementia
As we get older, it becomes more and more important to take care of ourselves. From exercise, to healthy eating, acting today may save us some pain tomorrow. A study conducted by Johns Hopkins suggests that this concept is relevant for our hearing and mental health as well. The study found that seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia than those who had retained their hearing. Researchers say that these findings could lead to new treatments for dementia, a debilitating condition that affects millions of people a year.
“Researchers have looked at what affects hearing loss, but few have looked at how hearing loss affects cognitive brain function. There hasn’t been much crosstalk between otologists and geriatricians, so it’s been unclear whether hearing loss and dementia are related.” - Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Division of Otology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and leader of the study.
How Does Hearing Loss Lead To Dementia?
The actual link between hearing loss and dementia is unknown, however investigators suggest that it most likely has to do with the brain being overwhelmed. When someone is suffering from hearing loss, their brain strains to understand everyday sounds that others understand effortlessly. This strain is thought to weaken the brain overtime, thus leading to an increased risk for dementia. Another possible link is that of isolation. Individuals suffering from severe hearing loss typically live isolated lives due to the lack of the ability to communicate, another precursor to dementia and other cognitive disorders.
Regardless of the source of the link, scientists and researchers are hopeful that these finding will pave the way for more breakthroughs in treatment for dementia. Treatment could even be as simple as prescribing hearing aids to those who suffer from hearing loss. In addition to Lin’s study, the February Archives of Neurology published another study that followed 639 people over the course of 18 years. Of the 639, one fourth had some form of hearing loss and no signs of dementia. As the years passed, participants went through repeat examinations every year to two years. By the end of the study, 58 participants had developed dementia. Researchers found that of all participants in the study, those who suffered from hearing loss were significantly more likely to develop dementia. The more severe the hearing loss, the higher the risk of dementia.
"Our results show that hearing loss should not be considered an inconsequential part of aging, because it may come with some serious long-term consequences to healthy brain functioning." - Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D.
How To Get Your Hearing Checked
Dementia is a horrible affliction for individuals, their families and friends, and for society. Getting your hearing checked regularly is so important, especially as we get older. At both our Ventura and Westlake Village locations, we do not charge for hearing checks! You can be sure to either leave with peace of mind that your hearing is normal, or have options for a solution to your hearing issues. Hearing loss is a real threat, so take it seriously and make an appointment to get your hearing checked today!
To make an appointment, call (805) 496-3553 or reach out to us at priorityhearingaidgroup.com/contact-us.