The Link Between Hearing Loss & Dementia

by | Feb 22, 2021 | Hearing Health, Hearing Loss, Patient Resources

If you’re wondering if there is a link between hearing loss and dementia, we’re going to explore some options for you here.

It’s safe to say that hearing loss can affect many different people throughout their lives. It isn’t always the case, but it can also be something that is linked to aging. Although babies, children and young adults can experience it, hearing loss does tend to be linked more with old age. And, as a result, we can also raise awareness of its link to dementia too.

If you’re wondering if there is a link between hearing loss and dementia, we’re going to explore some options for you here. Because there has been a connection between hearing loss and the development of dementia. So let’s take a look at this along with hearing loss in general, dementia and any risk factors that you might want to be aware of.

What causes hearing loss?

Hearing loss can occur for a range of reasons. It’s often something that can be either sudden or gradual too. Sudden hearing loss in one ear could be down to an infection or blockage. In both, it could be due to medication or damage from a loud noise. Whereas gradual hearing loss in just the one ear is more indicative of something in the ear, such as fluid or skin cells. Finally, gradual hearing loss in both ears can be a result of aging or exposure to loud noise over the course of a long time.

What is dementia?

You may also be wondering exactly that dementia is at this point – especially if you don’t already know an awful lot about it. Dementia relates to the decline of the brain function. One of the most recognised symptoms of this is memory loss. However it does also affect things like cognitive speed, sharpness of mind, language, mood, and other aspects of daily life. It has also been said that there is a connection between hearing loss and dementia. So let’s now explore this.

The link between the two

Research that has been conducted into hearing loss and dementia shows that there is a connection between the two and that those with hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia. It can even be the case that those that have mild hearing loss can be twice as likely to develop dementia, those with moderate are three times as likely and severe hearing loss takes it to five times as likely.

Because of this, it’s a good idea to check and see if you do have hearing loss. An experienced audiologist can help you with this and assess your hearing.

Risk factors to be aware of

When it comes to hearing loss and its risk factor for dementia, it’s a good idea to understand what exactly can link one to the other. It is believed that the loss of hearing causes some changes in the brain that then mean that dementia can become a risk. This is often down to brain shrinkage as a result of the inactivity of the part of the brain that works with hearing. At the same time, a loss of hearing can also mean that the brain goes into overdrive which strains it, and it can reduce the capacity of functions like memory and thought.

Hearing loss and isolation

Something else to bear in mind is the influence of social isolation on hearing loss. Older adults that experience hearing loss yet don’t seek assistance from an audiologist, it could lead to depression, loneliness and anxiety. And as a risk, this could then cause isolation and a withdrawal from life activities.

How to aid hearing loss

If you are concerned about hearing loss, then it’s important to speak to your audiologist and have your hearing assessed. Choosing the right hearing aid could improve your hearing loss which may then help with any further risk factors that you may worry about in the future.

There have been a range of factors that can link dementia and hearing loss. However, you don’t have to assume that any hearing loss you experience will lead to dementia. Instead, it’s important to talk to your audiologist and find a hearing aid that will suit your experience of loss. Finding the right style of aid to suit your needs and your lifestyle could really make a difference to how you feel.

To find out more information about Allison Audiology & Hearing Aid Center, P.C., take a look at the rest of our website or give us a call using 979-292-8501 f and 713-827-1767 for Houston.

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Jana Emola-Austin, Au.D.

Raised in Bryan, Texas, Jana completed her undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University before attending the University of North Texas with an ambition to earn her master’s degree in speech pathology. However, a required audiology class soon set her on a new career path. She became enthralled with the subject and says audiology resonated with her because it involved everything she enjoys – helping people to improve their lives and relationships with others and using technology to make positive impacts. Following this revelation, Jana went on to graduate with her Doctor of Audiology degree. After many years of assisting patients in the clinic on a daily basis, Jana’s main responsibilities at Allison Audiology have shifted to a management role. She now works behind the scenes focusing on administrative, management, and marketing responsibilities.