Cognitive Decline and Hearing Loss: Unveiling the Link | The Latest Science

07/31/2023 | Cognitive Decline, Patient Resources

Living with untreated hearing loss can be a serious burden. Added to this, a growing body of scientific research points to a direct correlation between untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline. The data from these well-reviewed studies are indeed worrisome, consistently demonstrating the same trends. 

If you or a loved one is currently experiencing symptoms of hearing loss without receiving proper attention, you’re strongly encouraged to understand the potential implications outlined in this article. 

Unprecedented Research on Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline

One of the most comprehensive peer-reviewed studies to date was covered by CNN Health in December 2022. The article discusses the groundbreaking research on the relationship between untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline conducted by Brian Sheng Yep Yeo, MBBS1; Harris Jun Jie Muhammad Danial Song, MBBS1, and Emma Min Shuen Toh, MBBS1 of JAMA Neurology. This global study included an impressive array of research conducted in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australasia. 

The meta-analysis, comprising 31 studies with 137,484 participants, incorporated 25 observational studies and six trials. This wide-reaching research explored the association between hearing loss and cognitive decline over various durations, spanning from two to 25 years. 

Key Findings and Implications 

Two significant findings emerged: 

Firstly, the use of hearing aids was linked to a 19 percent reduction in long-term cognitive decline. As highlighted by Dr. Benjamin Tan, Dean’s Fellow at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore,

“Dementia is far easier to prevent than treat, and exceedingly difficult to reverse.” 

Secondly, even patients who already had mild cognitive impairment (early dementia) benefited from using hearing aids, exhibiting approximately a 20 percent lower risk of progressing to dementia. This underlines that it’s never too late to start using hearing aids, but early intervention may help preserve most cognitive abilities. 

The conclusion of this rigorous study was clear:

“In this meta-analysis, the use of hearing aids and cochlear implants is associated with a decreased risk of subsequent cognitive decline; physicians should strongly encourage their patients with hearing loss to adopt such devices.” 

The Importance of Hearing Health 

Despite our societal habits of regular dental checks and eye tests and annual physicals, many of us neglect our hearing health. Given the increasingly alarming data on the consequences of untreated hearing loss, it’s crucial to take hearing tests seriously. 

This extensive study, carried out with 137,484 participants, is the most comprehensive research conducted on the connection between cognitive decline and hearing aids/cochlear implants to date. 

We Are Here to Help 

If you or a loved one has concerns about your hearing, please know that we’re here to help.

We currently have appointments available for new patients. 

Please call us to schedule a convenient date/time for your visit(541) 612-7555.

Alternatively, you can visit our contact page, and a friendly member of our team will be in touch to answer any questions you may have. 

Given the seriousness of untreated hearing loss and its association with cognitive decline, it’s vital not to delay.

Prioritize your hearing health today. 

Secure Your Hearing Health Now!

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Erika Shakespeare CCC-A

Erika Shakespeare, CCC-A, specializes in pediatric and adult diagnostics and amplification. Working with adults to help manage tinnitus and hearing loss since 2002, she is an expert in both of these areas. Additionally, she is a pediatric audiology mentor and educator for pediatric audiologists across the country and is one of the most respected experts on pediatric audiology.

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