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Johns Hopkins University & National Institutes of Health Discover Link between Hearing Loss & Dementia

Recent studies have linked untreated and undiagnosed hearing loss to:

  • Irritability, anger, & negative attitude.
  • Fatigue, depression, stress, & tension.
  • Anti-social behavior.
  • Reduced alertness & increased risk of personal & family safety.
  • Impaired memory & unwillingness to learn new tasks.
  • A gradual decline in overall health.

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Symptomatic Comparison of Alzheimer’s Disease & Untreated Hearing Loss*

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Treating Hearing Loss Helps Improve Alertness & Memory Loss!

 The Link

Research scientists and doctors at the Johns Hopkins Medical University and the National Institutes of Health have found a link between hearing loss and dementia. As yet, the actual link or “trigger” between the two conditions is still unknown. However, they believe those with hearing loss may be more susceptible to dementia for 3 reasons.

  • When you can’t hear your brain has to work harder to process sound, taking away resources that it could use otherwise.
  • Gradual long term hearing loss fosters social isolation and depression – which has been proven to make mental decline happen faster.
  • The less you can hear, the fewer signals your nerves have to send to the brain, as a result your brain atrophies.

Affects Cognitive Abilities

  • Even though the cause of the relationship between hearing loss and dementia is unknown, researchers say it is important for individuals at risk to retain their ability to hear clearly.
  • One point of common ground doctors and scientists seem to agree on is that it is a good practice to use all available interventions to retain your hearing.

Who Is At Risk?

  • Veterans
  • Firemen
  • Musicians
  • Factory Workers
  • Police Officers
  • Pilots
  • Hunters

Men are most at risk for hearing loss because they traditionally work in audiohostile environ-ments and are exposed to loud noises, explosions, jet engines, and gunfire. Events that happened at a young age could result in hearing loss by middle age, and then get progressively worse as you grow older. Research also shows that women with diabetes are also at risk of experiencing consequences of hearing loss that could lead to cognitive decline.

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Your Hearing Loss May Be A More Serious Problem

  • For many, the easiest interventions are to get your hearing tested to determine if your hearing loss is as simple as wax build up in the ear canal, or to find out if you may have a more serious problem.
  • According to the study leader, Frank Lin, M.D., Ph. D., “Researchers have looked at what affects hearing loss, but few have looked at how hearing loss affects cognitive brain function.”
  • The study found that the greater the hearing loss- the increased likelihood of developing memory-robbing diseases, like Alzheimer’s.
  • The mental decline also seems to happen 30-40% faster in patients with hearing loss.

Hearing Technology Improves Hearing and Brain Function

The good news is patients who were provided with hearing aids or cochlear implants in these studies showed an improvement in brain function, and sometimes the improvements were dramatic. No matter what the causes of hearing loss, it’s never too late to treat it and improve both the ability to hear and the brain’s ability to function well. If you treat hearing loss early you can prevent memory loss and other mental challenges.

Make an appointment with us today and find out what we can do to help you hear better. Your overall health is our primary concern.

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