Live Chat


Wooden brain puzzle representing mental decline due to hearing loss.

What’s the link between hearing loss and dementia? Brain health and hearing loss have a link which medical science is beginning to comprehend. It was found that even minor untreated hearing loss increases your risk of developing cognitive decline.

These two seemingly unrelated health conditions may have a pathological connection. So how can a hearing exam help decrease the danger of hearing loss related dementia?

What is dementia?

The Mayo Clinic says that dementia is a group of symptoms that change memory, alter the ability to think clearly, and reduce socialization skills. People tend to think of Alzheimer’s disease when they hear dementia probably because it is a prevalent form. Alzheimer’s means progressive dementia that impacts around five million people in the U.S. Today, medical science has a comprehensive understanding of how hearing health increases the risk of dementias like Alzheimer’s disease.

How hearing works

When it comes to good hearing, every part of the complex ear mechanism matters. Waves of sound go inside the ear canal and are boosted as they move toward the inner ear. Electrical signals are sent to the brain for decoding by tiny little hairs in the inner ear that vibrate in response to sound waves.

Over time these little hairs can become irreversibly damaged from exposure to loud sound. Comprehension of sound becomes much more difficult due to the decrease of electrical signals to the brain.

Research indicates that this slow loss of hearing isn’t just an inconsequential part of aging. The brain attempts to decode any messages sent by the ear even if they are jumbled or unclear. That effort puts stress on the organ, making the individual struggling to hear more vulnerable to developing cognitive decline.

Loss of hearing is a risk factor for lots of diseases that lead to:

  • Inability to master new tasks
  • Exhaustion
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Impaired memory
  • Reduction in alertness
  • Overall diminished health

The odds of developing dementia can increase depending on the severity of your hearing loss, also. A person with just minor impairment has twice the risk. Hearing loss that is more significant will raise the risk by three times and very severe neglected hearing loss can put you at up to a five times greater danger. The cognitive skills of over 2,000 older adults were studied by Johns Hopkins University over six years. They found that hearing loss significant enough to interfere with conversation was 24 percent more likely to lead to memory and cognitive issues.

Why is a hearing exam worthwhile?

Not everybody appreciates how even minor hearing loss impacts their general health. Most individuals don’t even recognize they have hearing loss because it progresses so slowly. The human brain is good at adjusting as hearing declines, so it’s less noticeable.

We will be able to properly evaluate your hearing health and track any changes as they occur with routine hearing exams.

Using hearing aids to reduce the danger

Scientists presently believe that the link between dementia and hearing loss is largely based on the brain stress that hearing loss causes. Based on that one fact, you might conclude that hearing aids reduce that risk. The stress on your brain will be reduced by using a hearing aid to filter out undesirable background noise while boosting sounds you want to hear. The sounds that you’re hearing will get through without as much effort.

People who have normal hearing can still possibly get dementia. But scientists think hearing loss speeds up that decline. Having routine hearing tests to detect and treat hearing loss before it gets too serious is key to reducing that risk.

Call us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing exam if you’re worried that you might be coping with hearing loss.

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
Why wait? You don't have to live with hearing loss. Call Us Today