Over the years, there have been a growing number of studies that have revealed a link between hearing loss and dementia, which may in turn lead to Alzheimer’s if left untreated. In fact, research has shown that mild hearing loss may double the risk of dementia, while moderate hearing loss may increase this risk by five-fold. Since a significant portion of the brain is utilized to process auditory information, any impairment of this function from hearing loss results in a reduction of brain activity over time, leading to brain atrophy. This atrophy of the brain ultimately results in the shrinkage of grey matter, thereby leading to a worsening of cognitive function and the possible outcome of Alzheimer’s disease.
It is estimated that approximately 83 percent of patients diagnosed with dementia also have hearing loss. Given how prevalent the overlap is between both conditions, patients diagnosed with dementia should have their hearing tested to determine if hearing loss is a contributing factor to their dementia. If so, the use of hearing aids can offer substantial improvements to cognitive function. One study found that when patients diagnosed with dementia and hearing problems were fitted with hearing aids, cognitive function was boosted by up to 50 percent within one year. Subsequently, it is important for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s to receive proper treatment for their hearing difficulties, which in turn may reduce or slow down mental decline and improve quality of life.
Interested in learning more about Alzheimer’s research? Please call 561-296-3824. The Premiere Research Institute in West Palm Beach regularly conducts clinical research studies in the field of Alzheimer’s Disease. To find out more about these studies click here or sign up for their newsletter to keep informed about the newest treatments, articles, and research that are being conducted in the field of Alzheimer’s.
Clark, T. (2016, January 12). What links hearing loss and Alzheimer’s? Palm Beach Post. Retrieved from http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/marketing/what-links-hearing-loss-and-alzheimers/nnkQG/