Timely addressing of hearing loss can have a significant impact, including potentially slowing or preventing cognitive decline.

The Correlation Between Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline: Insights by Utah Ear Institute

by | Jun 10, 2023 | Hearing Loss, Patient Resources

In the journey of aging, numerous health concerns come to the forefront, with hearing loss being a prominent one. However, untreated hearing loss is not merely a nuisanceit can have significant consequences on our cognitive functions. Increasing research identifies a clear link between untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline. 

At the Utah Ear Institute, renowned for delivering the highest levels of audiological care to the Wasatch Front, we understand this intricate relationship between hearing health and cognitive well-being and prioritize both aspects in our care approach. 

Prevalence of Hearing Loss and Common Ignorance

Hearing loss, particularly among older adults, is more common than many people realize. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders estimates that approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing. 

Unfortunately, despite the widespread nature of this health concern, only about 20 percent of those who could benefit from treatment actually seek assistance. Often, people delay seeking treatment for several years after their initial diagnosis. This delay, and the proven link between untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline, poses a considerable, silent threat to cognitive health. 

What Is Cognitive Decline and How Is it Linked to Hearing Loss?

Cognitive decline refers to the gradual deterioration of cognitive capabilities such as memory, attention, and thinking skills. In severe cases, it can progress to Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, severely impacting a person’s quality of life. 

The correlation between untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline can be traced back to several theories. A prominent theory suggests that when hearing loss complicates speech comprehension, the resulting cognitive overload can lead to a decline in other cognitive functions. Additionally, hearing loss often leads to social isolation, another factor contributing to cognitive decline. 

The Research Behind the Link 

Numerous studies confirm the association between hearing loss and cognitive decline. For instance, a significant study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that cognitive abilities declined 30–40 percent faster in individuals with hearing loss than in those without. 

Another study published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery found that nearly 2,000 older adults with hearing loss had a 24 percent increased risk for cognitive decline compared to those without hearing loss. 

Addressing Hearing Loss: The Way Forward

Timely addressing of hearing loss can have a significant impact, including potentially slowing or preventing cognitive decline. Hearing aids, the most common treatment for hearing loss, can help alleviate cognitive overload by reducing the effort needed to decipher speech. This leaves more cognitive resources available for other functions. 

Moreover, by improving hearing, social interaction is enhanced, counteracting the negative effects of social isolation on mental health. 

Utah Ear Institute: Your Trusted Hearing Health Partner 

At Utah Ear Institute, we’re not just aware of the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline; we’re committed to addressing it. Our team of audiological experts delivers comprehensive care that considers your hearing and cognitive health. 

We provide advanced diagnostic services and personalized treatment plans that cater to your unique hearing needs and lifestyle. Our patient-focused approach involves preventive measures and ongoing support, ensuring the best possible outcomes. 

Don’t let untreated hearing loss affect your cognitive abilities and quality of life.

Contact Utah Ear Institute today. Our experienced team, known for delivering the highest levels of audiological care to the Wasatch Front, is ready to help: (801) 298-4327. 

Start Your Hearing Health Journey Today

Do you know somebody that needs to see this? Why not share it?

Dr. Joshua Luekenga, Au.D., F-AAA, CCC-A, Audiologist

Dr. Joshua Luekenga is an audiologist and founder of The Utah Ear Institute which is comprised of 5 comprehensive clinics throughout Utah and Wyoming. He specializes in vestibular and balance diagnostics. He also evaluates and treats hearing disorders, Tinnitus, Auditory Processing Disorders (APD), Misophonia and Hyperacusis.

    Request a Callback

    "*" indicates required fields