Does Hearing Loss Contribute to Brain Atrophy?

Woman with long dark hair and black rimmed glasses experiencing cognitive decline.

Hearing loss is usually accepted as simply another part of the aging process: as we get older, we start to hear things a little less clearly. Maybe we begin to turn the volume up on the TV or keep asking our grandchildren to speak up when they’re talking to us, or maybe we begin to forget things?
Loss of memory is also frequently regarded as a standard part of aging because the senior population is more prone to Alzheimer’s and dementia than the younger population. But what if the two were somehow related? And could it be possible to safeguard your mental health and address hearing loss at the same time?

Hearing loss and mental decline

Most individuals do not associate hearing loss with cognitive decline and dementia. But if you look in the appropriate places, you will discover a clear connection: if you have hearing loss, even at low levels, studies have shown there’s a considerable risk of developing dementia or cognitive decline.
Mental health problems like anxiety and depression are also fairly prevalent in individuals who have hearing loss. The key point here is that hearing loss, mental health issues, and cognitive decline all impact our ability to socialize.

Why is cognitive decline affected by hearing loss?

There is a link between hearing loss and cognitive decline, and though there’s no solid proof that there is a direct cause and effect association, experts are looking at some compelling clues. They believe two main situations are responsible: the inability to socialize and your brain working overtime.
Countless studies show that loneliness leads to anxiety and depression. And when people have hearing loss, they’re not as likely to interact socially with others. Many individuals find it difficult to go out to the movies or dinner because they can’t hear very well. These actions lead down a path of isolation, which can result in mental health problems.

Additionally, researchers have discovered that the brain frequently has to work harder to make up for the fact that the ears don’t hear as well as they should. The region of the brain that’s responsible for understanding sounds, like voices in a conversation, needs more help from other parts of the brain – namely, the part of the brain that stores memories. This overworks the brain and causes cognitive decline to set in a lot faster than if the brain could process sounds normally.

Using hearing aids to prevent cognitive decline

Hearing aids are our first weapon against mental decline, mental health issues, and dementia. When people use hearing aids to address hearing loss, studies have shown that they were at a lower risk of dementia and had increased cognitive function.
If more people used their hearing aids, we might see fewer instances of mental health problems and cognitive decline. Between 15% and 30% of individuals who require hearing aids actually use them, which accounts for between 4.5 million and 9 million people. Nearly 50 million individuals cope with dementia according to the World Health Organization estimates. If hearing aids can reduce that number by even just a couple of million people, the quality of life for many individuals and families will be exponentially improved.
Are you ready to improve your hearing and maintain your memory at the same time? Contact us today and make an appointment for a consultation to find out if hearing aids are right for you and start moving toward better mental health.


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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