Link Between Hearing and Cognitive Health

July 29, 2021

 

Our ability to hear is truly incredible. You’d be forgiven for thinking that hearing relies solely on our ears. In fact, ‘hearing’ primarily involves our brain. Increasing research is showing the link between hearing and cognitive health. More importantly, the impact that untreated hearing loss can have on our cognitive well-being.

 

Our ability to hear is truly incredible. You’d be forgiven for thinking that hearing relies solely on our ears. In fact, ‘hearing’ primarily involves our brain. Increasing research is showing the link between hearing and cognitive health. More importantly, the impact that untreated hearing loss can have on our cognitive well-being.

Many studies have looked into this topic, including this John Hopkins study which indicated that the more severe your hearing loss is, the greater your risk for developing dementia.

Cognitive decline describes symptoms such as confusion, clumsiness, memory problems and impaired judgment. These may be early warning signs of conditions such as dementia which affects problem-solving, language, perception, thinking and memory.

There are many types of dementia, but most cases are caused by Alzheimer’s disease. The concerning fact is that often by the time these symptoms emerge, the damage is already done.

Link Between Hearing and Cognitive Health

Hearing loss can have an impact on the brain in many ways.

  • Social isolation is linked with an increase in cognitive decline due to a reduction in the amount and quality of brain stimulation. Many with untreated hearing loss will start to avoid social environments and withdraw from situations that challenge their ability to hear.
  • A study of MRI scans has shown that brain volume can decline faster in individuals with hearing loss. This is down to how sound is decoded in different parts of the brain than in those with normal hearing. (The brain cells that aren’t utilized will shrink.)
  • The repeated and often intense concentration required to hear can put extra stress and strain upon cognitive function. Over a prolonged period, this could be fatiguing and drain the energy reserves of the brain, possibly resulting in memory issues.

Looking after your hearing can help to protect your brain. If you suspect any changes to your baseline hearing, do not delay booking in a hearing assessment with the hearing care specialists at Audiology Professionals. Book in with the team at Audiology Professionals by calling us on (541) 228-9233. Alternatively, click here to contact us online.

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Audiology Professionals

Audiology Professionals