Dementia and Hearing Loss
By Loriebeth D'Elia
Your hearing and balance care are important to your overall well-being and can affect your ability to communicate and stay connected with family, friends, and loved ones.
In a 2017 report, mid-life hearing loss was named as the greatest single modifiable risk factor to reduce the risk of dementia. So, does that mean if you have hearing loss and you don’t wear hearing aids, you’re bound to have cognitive decline? Well, it is not quite that simple.1
Hearing loss, and other modifiable factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking, may contribute to about one-third of the overall risk for getting dementia. The other two-thirds of the overall risk are thought to be influenced by uncontrollable factors, such as genetic predisposition. It is known that hearing loss leads to social isolation and decreased participation in activities. 1
There is also a strong relationship between hearing loss and depression in adults, both of which are other modifiable risk factors for dementia. Wearing appropriately fit hearing aids can improve communication with friends and family, ease social interactions, lessen effort exerted on listening, and improve overall quality of life. 2
Do you find yourself frequently asking for repetition or feel like everyone mumbles when they speak with you? Could you or a loved one benefit from wearing hearing aids? In celebration of Better Hearing Month, start your journey to healthy hearing and get tested by an audiologist.
Get Your Hearing and Balance Checked … Find an Audiologist Near You!
Loriebeth D'Elia is a clinical audiologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Her clinical interests include diagnostics, vestibular assessment, hearing aids and assistive listening devices. She is also a member of the Academy's Public Awareness Committee.
- Livingston, G., Sommerland, A., Orgeta, V., Costafreda, S., Huntley, J., Ames, D., … Mukadam, N. (2017). Dementia prevention, intervention, and care. The Lancet, 390(10113), 2673-2734.
- Dawes, P., Emsley, R., Cruickshanks, K.J., Moore, D.R., Fortnum, H., Edmondson-Jones, m., McCormack, A., & Munro, K.J. (2015). Hearing loss and cognition: the role of hearing aids, social isolation and depression. PLOS One doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119616