Montgomery Hearing Services - September Hearing Health Blog, Alzheimer's and Hearing Loss
Alzheimer's and Hearing Loss
Posted by Midwest Hearing Aid Center on September 01, 2015
Hearing loss is associated with many physical conditions. Recently, it has been linked to cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s and dementia. In honor of World Alzheimer’s Day, we wanted to take a closer look at how hearing loss and Alzheimer’s are connected.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute on Aging found that while the brain shrinks with age, this change is hastened in older adults with hearing loss. Frank Lin, M.D., PhD. and his colleagues studied the differences in brain changes in a longitude study of aging. Using routine brain scans and hearing tests, the team measured the width of the brain tissue for each subject and found that the subjects who had entered the study with hearing loss exhibited accelerated rates of brain atrophy when compared to those subjects who had normal hearing.
Those with hearing loss saw the following results:
- Accelerated rates of brain shrinkage
- Loss over an additional 1 cubic centimeter of brain tissue each year compared to those with normal hearing
- More shrinkage in superior, middle and inferior temporal gyri (structures of the brain responsible for processing sound and speech)
It is not a surprise that those with hearing loss saw more shrinkage in the areas responsible for sound and speech as that may occur due to an “impoverished auditory complex.” However, because these areas do not work alone, their diminishment may signal overall degradation of the brain. For example, the middle and inferior temporal gyri also help with memory and sensory integration and have been shown to be involved with early stage Alzheimer’s.
The findings of this research indicate that hearing loss and Alzheimer’s are correlated. Further, it also shows is that there is urgency to treating hearing loss early. It is imperative to have your hearing checked and treated early. It could mean better long-term brain performance, a lesser chance of Alzheimer’s and dementia, and overall, better long-term health and wellness. A recent study has even shown getting your hearing checked early can help prevent cognitive decline.
Have you gotten a hearing check lately? It might help you more than you think. Contact us today for a COMPLIMENTARY Hearing Evaluation: (913) 312-1774.