One in eight adults over the age of 70 suffers from some form of dementia, according the 2012 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures, and as the population ages, that number is expected to increase.
While there is no cure for dementia, a recent study by hearing experts at John Hopkins shows an association between hearing loss and cognitive decline.
In the study, volunteers with both normal hearing and hearing loss were monitored. The volunteers underwent cognitive testing over a six year period. In that time, the volunteers with hearing loss experienced a 30 – 40 percent faster decline in their cognitive abilities than those with normal hearing.
Researchers site social isolation and the additional brain energy required to process speech caused by hearing loss as possible explanations for the increased cognitive decline.
“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.” states senior study investigator and Johns Hopkins otologist and epidemiologist Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D.
Early detection of hearing loss and the use of hearing aids can help to minimize social isolation and increased cognitive load caused by hearing loss. Achieving better hearing through hearing aids could help delay cognitive decline associated with the onset of dementia.
At Cleveland ENT, Physician Hearing Centers, our expert audiologist and physician team can treat all individuals with hearing loss difficulties, regardless of the cause. If you or a loved one struggles with hearing loss, we encourage you to take the first step to better hearing and make an appointment for a consultation today. Simply go to our Contact Us page and submit your information and we will be in touch within one business day.