According to a study conducted by the John Hopkins University in 2013, hearing loss can increase the risk of cognitive problems and dementia.
As part of a dementia study in 2011, the cognitive health of 639 mentally sharp people was monitored. The volunteers’ mental abilities were tested regularly, for about 12 years and some for 18 years.
The results concluded that the worse the initial hearing loss, the more likely the person was to develop dementia.
According to researchers, there are plausible reasons for why hearing loss might lead to dementia. The brain’s hearing center, called the auditory cortex, is very close to the region where Alzheimer’s first starts and this could be one of the major reasons.
Although the brain naturally becomes smaller with age, brain shrinkage seems to be fast-tracked in older adults with hearing loss. This was proved in a study by Frank Lin, MD PhD through John Hopkins University and the National Institute on Aging.
Those with impaired hearing had significantly more shrinkage in particular regions, including the superior, middle and inferior temporal gyri, brain structures that are responsible for sound and speech processing.