Can Brain Atrophy be Triggered by Hearing Loss?

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

As we get older we begin to have trouble hearing clearly and we normally just accept it as a normal part of aging. Perhaps we need to ask people to speak up or repeat themselves when they talk. Maybe the volume on our TV keeps going up. We might even discover that we’re becoming forgetful.
Loss of memory is also commonly seen as a standard 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 connection between the two? And, better yet, what if there was a way to manage hearing loss and also safeguard your memories and mental health?

Hearing loss and mental decline

Cognitive decline and dementia aren’t commonly connected to hearing loss. However, the connection is quite clear if you look in the appropriate places: if you’re experiencing hearing loss, even at low levels, studies have shown there’s a significant risk of developing dementia or cognitive decline.
Individuals who have hearing loss also often deal with mental health issues like anxiety and depression. The key here is that hearing loss, mental health problems, and cognitive decline all influence our ability to socialize.

Why is cognitive decline impacted by hearing loss?

While there is no concrete finding or definitive proof that hearing loss causes cognitive decline and mental health problems, there is some link and numerous clues that experts are looking at. They have pinpointed two main scenarios that they think result in issues: the inability to socialize and your brain working overtime.
Many studies show that isolation leads to depression and anxiety. And people are not as likely to socialize with others when they have hearing loss. Many people find it difficult to go out to the movies or dinner because they can’t hear very well. These actions lead down a path of isolation, which can result in mental health problems.

Studies have also revealed that when somebody has hearing impairment, the brain has to work overtime to compensate for the diminished stimulation. Ultimately, the part of the brain in charge of other tasks, like holding memories, has to use some of its resources to help the part of the brain responsible for hearing. Mental decline will then develop faster than normal as the overtaxed brain strains to keep up.

How to prevent cognitive decline with hearing aids

Hearing aids are our first weapon against mental decline, mental health problems, and dementia. Research has revealed 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 used their hearing aids, we might see less instances of mental health problems and cognitive decline. Between 15% and 30% of people who need hearing aids actually use them, which accounts for between 4.5 million and 9 million people. The World Health Organization estimates that there are nearly 50 million people who cope with some form of dementia. If hearing aids can decrease that number by even just a couple of million people, the quality of life for many individuals and families will improve exponentially.
Are you ready to improve your hearing and safeguard your memory at the same time? 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.