Hearing Loss Common in Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease
Untreated hearing loss is associated with depression, anxiety, and a reduced quality of life.
In addition, senior citizens that suffer with hearing loss are more likely to also develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than those who do not have hearing loss.
Studies of about 2,000 seniors with a mean average age of 77 years over a period of 6 years found that there’s a greater likelihood of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease when hearing loss is severe. Moreover, even seniors with mild hearing loss were more prone to cognitive failures. The reason is that hearing loss can accelerate atrophy of the brain’s gray matter (middle and inferior temporal gyri) which are integral to memory and sensory integration and, in turn, makes listening and comprehension more difficult. (Interestingly, similar atrophy is also noted in people with Alzheimer’s disease.) And the way to combat it, to improve hearing, and to preserve brain function is to wear hearing aids.
If your audiologist can diagnose hearing loss in the early stages, more of your hearing can be preserved and the progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can be slowed down.
In short, hearing aids not only improve hearing function but they can mitigate or prevent brain atrophy and subsequent onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.