Research by Johns Hopkins University and other research facilities has confirmed what many audiologists and physicians have long feared: there is an irrefutable link between hearing loss and cognitive decline. Initial problems such as memory loss and an inability to concentrate can worsen over time. Left untreated, hearing loss may eventually lead to dementia and other forms of severe cognitive impairment.
In the most recent study, published in 2013, 2,000 older adults (average age: 77) were tracked for a period of six years. Those who began the study with the worst hearing loss – impairment bad enough to interfere with daily conversational ability – were 24 percent more likely to see a decline in cognitive ability compared to individuals with normal hearing. A similar study published in 2011 concluded that persons with moderate hearing loss were three times as likely to develop dementia. These figures are striking and hard to refute. The most important aspect of the research is the fact that untreated hearing loss may lead to the more rapid development of dementia and Alzheimer’s compared to people who choose to obtain amplification to treat their hearing loss.
The research supports that patients who act on their hearing loss will most likely reduce the chances or at least delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Early detection is key! If you feel that you may be experiencing hearing loss or if others are telling you that you are not hearing well, it is best to seek testing and advice.
Call Barrington Hearing Center at (847) 382-5700 for more information or to schedule an appointment.