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Hearing Loss And Cognitive Decline: Are Hearing Loss And Dementia Related?

Sep 22, 2021Mental Health0 comments

Previously, I’ve covered how hearing loss affects your brain health. Today, I’ll build on those effects: hearing loss and dementia. Unfortunately, hearing loss and cognitive decline have a complex link. I’ll do my best to summarize the research.

There’s a significant correlation between hearing and cognition. Several studies have shed light on that relationship. Let’s look at what science has to say about it.

As usual, I’ll also share a great tip to combat this issue. There’s a product that targets how the brain translates audition. Read till the end to learn more.

How do hearing loss and dementia work?

Hearing loss and dementia have attracted lots of attention. This study dives into how the two conditions correlate. That’s especially true when dealing with diagnosis and prevention. Early intervention is ideal for both issues.

Hearing loss and cognitive decline are fairly common conditions. Hearing impairment is prevalent in older adults. Moreover, both conditions are more likely to manifest with aging. The study also considers mild cognitive impairment in its statistics.

Hearing sensitivity and cognitive performance

Pure-tone testing lets researchers assess a patient’s hearing sensitivity. Behavioral studies have shown an interesting link. Better hearing sensitivity correlates with stronger cognitive performance.

For example, pure-tone hearing relates to a majority of cognitive measures. That includes processing speed, memory, and executive function. Unfortunately, the effect’s size is relatively small. Thus, further research is crucial for clinical significance.

The auditory system, hearing loss, and cognitive decline

Research has suggested a considerable link between both impairments. Yet, further studies are necessary to assess what are the inherent mechanisms. Luckily, this study shares crucial knowledge related to the conditions.

For this article, we’ll focus on three hearing domains. However, I’ll revisit this study in a future article. Make sure to stay tuned for that.

Right now, let’s focus on how hearing mechanisms relate to cognitive performance.

Peripheral hearing

Peripheral hearing loss is the first link with cognitive decline. For instance, poor peripheral hearing correlates to the following:

  • Poor global cognitive assessment.
  • Poor cognitive memory measures.
  • Subpar executive function and processing speed.

Moreover, cognitive decline seems to increase with hearing loss severity. Likewise, this correlates with hearing loss likelihood increasing with age. As such, hearing loss could be an early sign of dementia, prompting intervention.

Central auditory processing

CAP hasn’t received as much attention as peripheral hearing. However, cognitive decline can hinder performance in CAP tests. Listening to speech with background noise is a prime example.

Cognitive abilities and CAP relate considerably with speech understanding. Yet, peripheral hearing doesn’t seem to have this influence. Despite receiving less attention, CAP could be a stronger dementia measure.

Event-related potentials

ERPs measure cortical brain activity in response to auditory stimuli. Thus, they provide a less subjective approach to examining hearing and cognition. It proposes a great alternative to behavioral measures.

For instance, cognitive impairment could increase response times to auditory stimuli. The same goes for hemispheric activation patterns. They seem more diffuse in cognitively impaired patients.

The holistic takeaway

hearing loss and cognitive decline diagram

Hearing loss and cognitive decline share several mechanisms. However, more research is necessary to determine the causality. Still, it’s wise to maintain auditory health in our everyday lives. For instance, avoid saturating your hearing with noise.

For prevention, I found a great product to help your hearing and brain health. Synapse XT focuses on how your brain translates these signals. It’s a tinnitus treatment, yet it offers many benefits. Better focus is one of them.

To learn the specifics, make sure to read my review over here.


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