Hearing Loss and Diminishing Cognitive Function

April 4, 2017 8:38 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Ignoring hearing loss issues can lead to difficulties communicating and operating in day-to-day life, but did you know it can also increase the odds of developing dementia as you age? Over the past few years research has surfaced suggesting that hearing loss can increase the speed at which thinking and memory deteriorates with age. This deterioration can lead to mental decline or even worse, a serious issue such as dementia or other diminished cognitive function.

In an investigation called the Health, Aging and Body Composition (Health ABC) study, almost 2,000 men and women between the ages of 75 and 84 participated. All were given hearing tests which involved listening to a range of soft and loud sounds in a soundproof room. The volunteers also had their brain function assessed using standard tests of memory and thinking ability. What do you think the researchers found?

The findings were reported online in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Lead scientist Dr. Frank Lin commented, “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.” Over a period of six years, volunteers with hearing loss were found to have a rate of mental decline up to 40 percent faster than those who could hear normally.

These findings are incredible and the numbers are undeniable — hearing loss is not an issue to be ignored. There are many possibilities as to why the link between untreated hearing loss and cognitive declines exists. It may be the social isolation that occurs, the loneliness that comes with a lack of communication, it could be the brain needing to redirect energy to processing sound at the expense of memory and thinking, or it could be some form of neurological damage.

Whatever the cause may be the truth of the matter is that hearing loss needs to be taken more seriously than it has in the past. It is no longer about simply aging and being hard of hearing — it is about keeping the brain in tip top shape. When you add your brain into the equation it is impossible to ignore how important hearing health is, if you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss issues call us today at 831-240-4162 to schedule your free hearing evaluation.

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