Hearing Loss and Dementia
A recent study by Frank R. Lin, MD, Ph. D studied hearing loss and its connection to brain tissue loss. It tracked almost two thousand older adults over six years and recorded the progression of their hearing loss in relation to cognitive function. It showed that “Seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing.” While the exact mechanics of the relationship have not been identified and need further study, hearing loss was almost certainly a factor in the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The implications of this study highlight the importance of seeking medical care for hearing loss and making informed and timely medical decisions with regard to treatment. It is important to be proactive, discussing any concerns with a medical professional and have hearing checked to monitor any possible dysfunction.
Experts have several ideas as to why hearing could be connected to mental acuity. When people cannot hear well, they tend to withdraw from social situations. This lack of interaction and mental stimulation leads to mental stagnation and decline. Another theory involves strain on the brain caused by the struggle to hear and comprehend. This extra effort interferes with a person’s regular cognition.
If you or someone you love may be experiencing hearing loss, talk to a medical professional. To read more about he link between hearing loss and dementia, read this article at AARP.com or another informative article from The Chicago Tribune which includes quotes from Dr. Frank Lin.