Posted on: July 2, 2014
According to recent studies, hearing loss can lead to increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline. One study, conducted at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, shows that the risk of dementia increases dramatically the worse the hearing loss is. People with mild hearing loss are twice as likely to develop dementia, while the risk increases to five-fold for people who have severe hearing loss.
While the reason for the link is not fully understood, researchers have offered some theories. One reason may be that people with hearing loss take part in fewer social activities. Previous studies have shown that social isolation increases the risk of dementia. Another reason may be cognitive overload. The extra work the brain needs to do to decipher garbled speech may leave it more susceptible to dementia. In addition, MRI scans consistently show that individuals with hearing loss lose brain tissue more quickly than those with normal hearing. The tissue loss is most pronounced in the areas of the brain that process hearing and speech.
Further studies are underway to determine if improving hearing through hearing aids can delay or reduce the risk of developing dementia for people with hearing loss.
These studies contribute to the mounting evidence that treating hearing loss early benefits overall health and well-being. If you or someone you know show signs of hearing loss, call us at 252-3004 (Sackville clinic) or 423-7734 (Halifax clinic) to book your consultation today.