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Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline


Most people have heard that there is some link between untreated hearing loss and dementia, but what does that mean?

Hearing loss will reduce the sound signals to the language centers of the brain. In worst case scenarios, a dead zone in the cochlea can keep signals from reaching the brain at all.

One of the more popular studies that is cited is the study by Dr. Frank Lin, the director of the Cochlear Center at Johns Hopkins University. He completed this study as a part of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. 639 individuals participated who had their audiometry and cognition studied, and were good candidates per the study's requirements.


Based upon the study's conclusion, a clear link was found between hearing loss and dementia, as well as hearing loss and Alzheimer's. Not only is there a link between hearing decline and cognitive decline, but the link is stronger for more severe hearing losses than for mild losses. Further research is needed to see if hearing loss really contributes to the development of dementia and Alzheimer's, or if it's just an early symptom of these cognitive disorders.

Other possible variables, such as the person's age, gender and education, as well as co-morbid health concerns, like diabetes and hypertension, were all factored out of the study. This study has been replicated in other parts of the world.   

Need more proof that hearing and cognition are connected?

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