Important link between hearing loss and dementia found.
On October 10, 2013, an important research study showing a link between hearing loss and cognitive function was released. As a result, the Better Hearing Institute and Sandia Hearing Center are urging people to pay close attention to their hearing and have regular annual hearing exams for early detection. In recognition of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in November, BHI is “raising awareness of the relationship between hearing loss and dementia, and is underscoring the importance of addressing hearing loss for the benefit of overall cognitive function” (BetterHearing.org).
While the cause and effect relationship between hearing loss and dementia needs further investigation, increasing evidence supports a link between the two, which makes this an urgent issue among hearing health specialists.
For many years, Brandeis University Professor of Neuroscience Dr. Arthur Wingfield has been studying cognitive aging and the relationship between memory and hearing acuity. His findings suggest that the listener’s hearing ability not only affects their sensory processing of auditory information, but that it also affects higher level language processing. Additionally, he found that people with poorer hearing had less gray matter in the auditory cortex, an area of the brain that supports speech comprehension. As people move through middle age and their later years, Wingfield suggested, it is reasonable for them to get their hearing tested annually. If there is a hearing loss, it is best to take it seriously and treat it.
BHI and Sandia Hearing Center would like to remind everyone with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers that hearing health is an important factor in quality of life. The ability to communicate with the help of hearing aids can help improve quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.
To learn more about hearing health and dementia, call Sandia Hearing Center today for a free consultation. We offer comprehensive hearing examinations and hearing healthcare for a lifetime! Call 719-634-6260.