Scientific studies have shown that untreated hearing loss is tied to the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Dementia is a loss of brain function. Symptoms may include impaired thinking or judgment, forgetfulness, changes in personality, increased agitation, or the loss of emotional control.
In addition to the impact on your emotional well-being, an untreated hearing loss means your brain is receiving less stimulation. The brain begins to use more resources to try to process the auditory information, pulling those resources from other functions like memory and learning. Over time, this lack of mental activity affects your brain, possibly leading to memory loss or dementia.
Mild hearing loss is linked to a two-fold increase in the likelihood of dementia; severe hearing loss is associated with a five-time greater risk over a 10 year period. The adults in the study who had hearing loss were found to have rates of cognitive decline that were 30 to 50 percent faster than others whose hearing was normal.
Nearly 3,800 people in a French study were evaluated over a 25-year period. Researchers found that the elderly who had a hearing loss and were not using hearing aids were at a much higher risk of dementia. The same French study found that those using hearing aids nearly eliminated the risk of cognitive decline.
These studies show that untreated hearing loss can significantly impact long-term health. If you suspect hearing loss, no matter how old you are, it’s important to get a hearing test from a trained audiologist. At Worth Hearing Center, we’ll carefully evaluate your hearing and if hearing loss is found, we’ll talk about the solutions that are available. Our Albuquerque and Rio Rancho hearing centers have helped thousands of patients hear better.