Hearing Loss

The Relationship Between Untreated Hearing Loss and Alzheimers Disease

Studies on the relationship between hearing loss and cognitive impairment are only becoming more and more common. Each one showing an indisputable link that an untreated hearing loss can lead to accelerated mental deterioration, leading to an increase in chances of Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease

While most studies on this subject are conducted with members of the senior population, research done by the University of Wisconsin took a look at a large group of middle-aged individuals (50-64), of which 9.2% had reported a hearing loss.

Approximately four years later, those with hearing loss performed worse on the cognitive tests they had been given. A doctoral student in the Neuroscience Training program shared her thoughts on the study with The Washington Post saying:

The hope is that identifying and treating hearing loss is something that a clinician can do quickly and easily in a non-invasive and affordable way. Hearing loss also offers an accessible way to detect signs of cognitive decline early on.

Spotting it early

One of the most important facets of treating conditions of mental deterioration and cognitive decline is being able to identify it early. When a significant hearing loss is diagnosed, it can alert specialists to a potential threat and begin to monitor an individual’s neural behavior sooner rather than later.

Another study, headed up by Dr. Frank R. Lin, MD, Ph.D. over at Johns Hopkins Medical Institution found that people aged 60+, with a clear hearing loss, had a probability of 36.4% to develop some form of dementia. As the hearing worsens, for each interval of 10db, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s increases by 20%.

One of Dr. Lin’s researchers spoke about some of the efforts people can take to help prevent hearing loss early on and the need for more widespread awareness on the link between hearing loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s:

“Hearing loss in older adults may be preventable and can be addressed with current technology” such as digital hearing aids and cochlear implants, the researchers say. Also, other rehabilitative interventions might be developed that would focus on “optimizing social and environmental conditions for hearing."

Give a nudge in the right direction.

As the statistics and information on matters such as this continue to grow, it only invigorates us to continue our efforts of informing and educating others on the risks of untreated hearing loss. It emphasizes the need to open a dialogue about hearing health and looking out for one another.

If you would like to learn more about the connection between hearing loss and cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s, head over to this page by the Alzheimer’s Society. If you or a loved one would like to get a free hearing examination, just contact one of our experts.

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