In Casablanca, Rick overhears Sam playing “As Time Goes By” from across the café. He rushes over – “Sam, I thought I told you never to play –” only to realize that his lost love Ilsa, seated next to the piano, has requested it for “old time’s sake.” This was their song during a short-lived romance in Paris, which left Rick so heartbroken, he never wanted to hear it again. This is the power of sound: it triggers emotional responses based on information we’ve stored in our brains. The opening chords of a song remind us of a past love, a distant siren alerts us to meteorological threats, and from the tone of a person’s voice, we determine sarcasm or sincerity. Hearing enriches our lives, protects us, and connects us as we make our way through the world. Imagine how detached and unsettled one would feel were this sense to become impaired. This is the reality for one-third of Americans between the ages of 61 and 70, with more than 80% for those over age 85. While hearing loss has commonly been accepted as a fact of aging, recent studies from Johns Hopkins have given us more to consider: a possible link between hearing impairment and dementia.