Scientists are finding more and more evidence that trouble with hearing makes you more likely to have dementia, a condition marked by memory loss and trouble with thinking, problem-solving, and other mental tasks.
That doesn’t mean that people with hearing loss are guaranteed to have dementia, simply that the odds are higher. There may be things you can do to lower your chances for mental decline, even if you start to have trouble hearing.
- People with hearing loss tend to feel isolated, since it’s hard to join in conversations or be social with others when you can’t hear. Some research has shown a link between feeling lonely or isolated and dementia. So hearing loss may make mental decline happen faster than it would otherwise.
- Your brain has to work harder to process sound if you don’t hear well. That may take away resources that it could use for other important activities.
- If your ears can no longer pick up on as many sounds, your hearing nerves will send fewer signals to your brain. As a result, the brain declines.
Hearing loss may double in the U.S. by 2060
Among American adults 20 and older, hearing loss is expected to increase from 44 million in 2020 (15 percent of adults) to 73.5 million by 2060 (23 percent of adults).
The increase will be greatest among older adults, according to the researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. In 2020, 55 percent of all adults with hearing loss will be 70 or older. In 2060, that rate will jump to 67 percent.
At Advanced ENT & Allergy, our expert team of Audiology professionals, provides comprehensive diagnostic services for hearing and balance disorders. Working alongside the doctors, our audiologists provide the best possible evaluation and treatment of hearing disorders and communication needs. Diagnostic testing is available for children and adults of all ages.