Untreated Hearing Loss & Dementia

Approximately 30% of adults aged 65 and older and 55% older than 80 years show some degree of hearing loss.
The risk of developing dementia doubles for older adults with mild hearing loss, and triples for those with moderate hearing loss. And for those with severe hearing loss, the risk is five times that of someone who does not suffer hearing loss. Notably, recent studies found that of nine potential risk factors for developing dementia, hearing loss was the highest at nine percent. In addition, recent research has found that shrinkage of brain tissue is fast-tracked for those with hearing loss, with accelerated rates of brain atrophy compared to those with normal hearing.

Hearing Loss & Dementia

For a Better Quality of Life

There’s a lot of research showing an association, but researchers are still not able to pinpoint the exact mechanisms of how hearing loss causes dementia. However, our duty as healthcare professionals is to treat symptoms which may improve an individual’s quality of life. What we know for certain is that living with a hearing loss will affect a person’s social wellbeing leading to isolation, depression and increased decline of dementia.

In some instances, hearing aid use is the one controllable and effective action a person can take to help reduce cognitive decline. Therefore, if you sense that you or a loved one may be suffering from any of the above, it is vital to have hearing tested and treated accordingly.