For years, doctors noted that older patients with hearing loss also suffered from high rates of dementia. But they couldn’t tell how the two were connected.
Now a study by Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging proves that there’s potential correlation between untreated hearing loss and cognitive dysfunction. The study followed 639 people for nearly 12 years and found that for each 10-decibel loss in hearing, the risk of dementia for a participant rose by about 20 percent.
People with a hearing loss lose their thinking & memory skills 30% to 40% faster rate than those with normal hearing.
Researchers believe the issue is something called “cognitive reserve.” When the brain is working and devoting extra resources to deciphering words and sounds, it simply loses capacity. And the isolation brought on by hearing loss compounds the problem, as people with fewer social interactions have less stimulation and get far less “exercise” for their brains.
Get your hearing checked early and consider treating even a mild hearing loss. Because you’re not only improving your hearing, you could be protecting your brain.