The Link Between Hearing Loss and Brain Function

November 1, 2014 in Our News & Bulletins by Anchor Health Care

As we age, we often find ourselves experiencing problems with our memory and thinking abilities, as well as difficulties hearing. A recent study found that there is a connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline, although the research did not determine what that link may be. Nearly half of people 75+ suffer from hearing loss and the condition is more prevalent in men than women.

 

1,984 retirees were used in this study. All were generally healthy with no cognitive impairment. Hearing tests were administered to the group and 60% were found to have some degree of hearing loss. The researchers periodically gave the group cognitive tests as well over the course of six years. The people who were hearing impaired were 24% more likely to have problems with their thinking and memory skills than those with normal hearing. On average, these cognitive problems developed three years sooner in the hearing impaired group as well. Another factor not tested in this study was if the use of hearing aids or other rehabilitative treatments would improve cognitive decline.

 

Source: Lin F, Yaffe K, Xia J, et al. Hearing loss and cognitive decline in older adults. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2013 Feb 25; 173 (4): 293-299.

Hearing Loss

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