Hearing loss and cognitive decline

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Is there a connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline?

Several studies have indicated that there is a connection between hearing loss, brain function decline and loss of brain tissue. Brain “shrinkage” occurs as a natural part of aging, but older adults with hearing loss appear to lose brain mass at a faster rate than individuals with normal hearing.

The study, conducted and published by researchers from Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging, “adds to a growing list of health consequences associated with hearing loss, including increased risk of dementia, falls, hospitalizations, and diminished physical and mental health overall.”

A related study by the same team found that older adults with hearing loss were far more likely to experience problems with thinking and memory than individuals with normal hearing, and indicated that "hearing loss should not be considered an inconsequential part of aging. It may come with some long-term consequences to healthy brain functioning.”

Our SoundThinking page illustrates other ways hearing loss and mental sharpness are linked, and explains how treating hearing loss can help.

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