(781) 218-2225
955 Main St., Suite 306
Winchester, Massachusetts 01890

Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline

Woman with Hearing Loss

When the topic of hearing loss is discussed, most people are concerned with the symptoms of it. Everyone wants to know what causes hearing loss and how to recognize it. However, it’s rare for someone to think about what hearing loss can be a symptom of.

That’s right, if you suffer from hearing problems, then this may be an early indication of another health problem. Recently, it’s been discovered that there’s a potential link between hearing loss and cognitive decline. This connection shows a greater risk of developing cognitive issues such as minor memory loss or even dementia.

What is cognitive decline?

To start, we should understand what is meant by cognitive decline. Primarily, it refers to the ability of your brain to function correctly. When you suffer from cognitive decline, then you struggle to process things and your memory can deteriorate, as well.  

How does hearing loss link to cognitive decline?

It’s thought that people suffering from hearing loss are more likely to suffer from cognitive decline as well. This is based on research comparing two sets of people; one group with untreated hearing loss and one group without it. The study found that a higher percentage of the group with hearing loss also suffered from mild cognitive decline.

Hearing loss is a problem that affects the way you take in specific signals through your ears. As a result, you struggle to hear things properly, which causes reduced stimulation to the brain. Over time, this decline in stimulation can affect a person’s memory.

Will everyone with hearing loss suffer from cognitive decline as well?

Most studies carried out will point to untreated hearing loss as a symptom of cognitive decline. The best thing to do will be to see your audiologist if you think you have hearing problems. They can perform hearing tests to determine if you have a loss present and how severe it is. In the event you do have hearing loss, the audiologist can recommend the best course of treatment, often hearing aids. These technological devices do not restore hearing, but will be tailored to your direct needs, allowing you to hear the small sounds you’ve been missing. An audiologist will also give you more information regarding cognitive decline to help you decide the best route of treatment.