Does Hearing Loss Contribute to Brain Atrophy?

Woman with long dark hair and black rimmed glasses experiencing cognitive decline.

Hearing loss is commonly accepted as just another part of the aging process: as we age, we begin to hear things a little less clearly. Perhaps we need to ask people to speak up or repeat themselves when they talk. Maybe the volume on our TV keeps getting louder. We might even notice that we’re becoming forgetful.
Loss of memory is also frequently seen as a normal part of aging because the senior population is more prone to Alzheimer’s and dementia than the younger population. But is it possible that there’s a link between the two? And, even better, what if there was a way to treat hearing loss and also preserve your memories and mental health?

The connection between mental decline and hearing loss

Mental decline and dementia aren’t commonly connected to hearing loss. However, the connection is quite clear if you look in the appropriate places: studies show that there is a substantial risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-like conditions if you also suffer from hearing loss – even at fairly low levels of hearing impairment.
Mental health problems like anxiety and depression are also fairly prevalent in people who suffer from hearing loss. The key point here is that hearing loss, mental health problems, and cognitive decline all influence our ability to socialize.

Why does hearing loss affect cognitive decline?

While there isn’t any solid finding or definitive proof that hearing loss causes cognitive decline and mental health issues, there is some association and numerous clues that experts are investigating. They think two main scenarios are responsible: the inability to interact socially and your brain working overtime.
Studies have revealed that anxiety and depression are often the result of isolation. And people aren’t as likely to socialize with other people when they cope with hearing loss. Many individuals who suffered from hearing loss find it’s too hard to carry on conversations or can’t hear well enough to enjoy things like the movie theater. Mental health problems can be the result of this path of isolation.

Studies have also revealed that when someone has hearing impairment, the brain has to work extra hard to make up for the diminished stimulation. Ultimately, the part of the brain in charge of other tasks, like remembering, has to use some of its resources to help the region of the brain responsible for hearing. This overtaxes the brain and causes cognitive decline to set in a lot faster than if the brain was able to process sounds normally.

How to stop mental decline with hearing aids

The weapon against mental health problems and cognitive decline is hearing aids. Research shows that patients improved their cognitive functions and were at a lower risk of developing dementia when they used hearing aids to deal with their hearing loss.
If more people wore their hearing aids, we may see less cases of mental health problems and cognitive decline. Of all the individuals who need hearing aids, only between 15% and 30% actually wear them, that’s between 5 and 9 million people. The World Health Organization estimates that there are nearly 50 million people who cope with some kind of dementia. If hearing aids can lower that number by even just a couple of million people, the quality of life for many individuals and families will be exponentially improved.
Are you ready to begin hearing better – and remembering things without any issue? Get on the path to better hearing and improved mental health by calling us for a consultation.


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.


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