Understanding the Link Between Hearing Loss and Dementia

Understanding the Link Between Hearing Loss and Dementia

A person putting on their hearing aid.

March 31, 2022

The terms hearing loss and dementia haven’t normally been used in relation to one another. More recently, though, there have been a number of studies done to show that there is a link between the two. At Heather Glen Senior Living, we are constantly keeping up-to-date with new findings in the medical field to help better our care of your older loved ones. Although the research is still in its early phases, we’ve put together a few items to note about how hearing loss could potentially lead to a greater chance of developing dementia. 

The possible links between the two

Typically, the most common factors we hear of when it comes to understanding what can increase the risk of dementia are age, family history, poor heart health and traumatic brain injuries—but hearing loss is steadily becoming more commonplace in discussions about dementia.

In the last few years, hearing loss has accounted for an estimated 8% of dementia cases, and there are a few reasons why those in the medical field think that is. One possibility is that when you experience hearing loss, the amount of activity in the part of your brain responsible for thinking could be decreasing, which could increase neurodegeneration—a common factor in diseases such as Alzheimer’s.  

Another thought is that because hearing loss makes our brains have to work harder—you start forcing your brain to strain to hear a conversation or fill in the gaps of one. In doing so, it could lessen the amount of energy the brain is putting toward functions such as memory systems—essentially creating a greater risk of developing dementia as you age. 

Current studies for reducing the risk

There are a few current studies being done to try and understand the link between hearing loss and dementia, but they are all still in the early stages—and finding clear ways to reduce this risk are still a ways out. One of the main studies that is currently being looked into in order to determine if it can reduce the risk of dementia for those who are developing hearing loss is the use of hearing aids. According to the 2020 report from Lancet Commission, age-related hearing loss is the largest modifiable risk factor for dementia—so medical professionals are confident that they will soon find a way to lessen the risk of dementia due to hearing loss. 

Our team is here to help at Heather Glen

Our team at Heather Glen Senior Living strives to give you all of the information possible on any new medical research in order for you to feel completely confident that your loved ones are receiving the best care imaginable. 

For years, we have continued to grow our offerings to ensure that your loved ones will be completely taken care of 24/7, so if you would like to know more about our company and mission—or, if you would like to set up a tour of our community, give us a call at (610) 841-4478 or fill out our online form today.

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