Dementia has been an enigma of the medical community for many years. Doctors and scientists have been working for decades to look for links to be able to predict who may develop dementia and if there are ways to lessen the impact. Recently, studies have shown that there may be a significant link between hearing loss and dementia.
The Link between Hearing Loss and Dementia
Although the precise reasoning for the connection between hearing loss and dementia is unknown, one thing that is certain is hearing loss does come with a significant increase in the chance of developing dementia by 36%. The studies that have been performed followed patients for nearly 20 years to see what would happen. It found that those who lost 25 decibels or more in their hearing were more likely to develop dementia.
Scientists think that the commonality between hearing loss and dementia has to do with brain structure, as “studies had linked hearing loss with a marked difference in the brain structure compared to those with normal hearing, both in humans and animals” (Johns Hopkins).
Another reason scientists speculate there may be a link between hearing loss and dementia is simply due to loneliness. One study suggests that as people lose their hearing, they tend to withdraw into themselves because they become frustrated by social gatherings. That form of social isolation can turn into depression, which could manifest itself into dementia in later years.
What You Can Do
One interesting thing, however, is doctors also found that patients who addressed their hearing loss early on seemed to suffer fewer symptoms of dementia. Or, in some cases, were able to delay dementia by many years. What this means is not to delay getting your hearing checked and taking the measures necessary to help correct it.
If you or someone who love is showing signs of hearing loss, it may not be too late to do something about it.
For more information on the link between hearing loss and dementia, contact us. We are happy to answer your questions on this or any other hearing related topic.