A growing body of research indicates that there is a link between hearing loss, cognitive impairment, and dementia. Cognitive impairment is considered an intermediate state between normal cognitive decline and dementia. Meanwhile, hearing loss has been associated with faster cognitive decline. According to the National Institute on Aging, there is a relationship between the level of uncorrected hearing loss and the level of dementia risk.
Uncorrected hearing loss can lead to social isolation, reduced social activities and increased symptoms of depression. This diminished quality of life is correlated with reduced cognitive function. These patients expend a great deal of energy attempting to counteract their uncorrected hearing loss, which leaves less energy for other brain activity. This has been shown to negatively impact certain memory processes. A study from Johns Hopkins in 2014 cited that test subjects with hearing loss had more brain shrinkage in areas associated with processing sound and speech. This is possibly due to a lack of stimulation.
What can you do to keep your brain healthy? Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including proper nutrition and exercise. Social activity is also a key component – it stimulates the brain, and can help protect against depression. Treat hearing loss early. Ask your physician for a referral for a hearing evaluation. Our Doctors of Audiology are here to help you live life to the fullest!
This information was provided by the licensed audiology team at the Watson Clinic Hearing Center. For more information and to schedule an appointment, visit WatsonClinic.com/HearingCenter or call 863-680-7486.