OHC: How Hearing Loss & Dementia May Be Related.


The hearing doctors and staff at Oklahoma Hearing Center are committed to educating their patients and the Oklahoma community about the causes and symptoms of hearing loss and other concerns.

Most people tend to associate hearing loss with the elderly, as well as several forms of dementia. However, what many do not realize is that not only are hearing loss and dementia often linked to aging—but hearing loss and dementia are actually linked to each other; one may be increasing the severity of the other.

There is some fascinating information from recent studies about the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline:

  1. Multiple studies from Johns Hopkins University have found that hearing loss is associated with accelerated cognitive decline in older adults. These studies found that seniors with hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia than those who retain their hearing.

  2. Another study showed a connection between hearing loss and accelerated brain tissue loss. The researchers found that for older adults with hearing loss, brain tissue loss happened faster than for those who had normal hearing.

  3. A Brandeis University Professor, Dr. Arthur Wingfield, found that that older adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss performed poorer on cognitive tests than those of the same age and had good hearing.

  4. As it turns out, unaddressed hearing loss not only affects the listener’s ability to “hear” the sound accurately, but it also affects higher-level cognitive functioning. Specifically, it interferes with the listener’s ability to accurately process the auditory information and make sense of it.

According to Johns Hopkins Professor Wingfield, another research study found that people with poorer hearing had less gray matter in the auditory cortex in the brain, a region of the brain that supports speech comprehension.  According to this researcher’s theory, when the sensory stimulation is reduced due to hearing loss, corresponding areas of the brain reorganize their activity as a result and thus the cognitive abilities of the affected person are impaired.

“Even if you have just a mild hearing loss that is not being treated, cognitive load increases significantly.  You have to put in so much effort just to perceive and understand what is being said that you divert resources away from storing what you have heard into your memory,” said Professor Wingfield on the matter.

Whether it is you or a loved one who is experiencing hearing loss, please call Oklahoma Hearing Center for an appointment.  The audiologists are hearing loss experts and pride themselves on being able to treat all your hearing needs.

Check out OHC’s website and call the most convenient clinic location today.