Say That Again? Hearing Loss Impacts More than Just your Hearing

Say That Again? Hearing Loss Impacts More than Just your Hearing

The negative social impacts of hearing loss ranges from social isolation to depression. But new research links hearing loss and accelerated brain tissue loss.

In a recent study published by Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute on Aging, researchers have found a link between hearing loss and an accelerated loss in brain tissue - resulting in an increased risk of dementia, hospitalizations, and decreased physical and mental health overall.

This research builds on decades-long research into the impacts of hearing loss on an individual other than a decreased perception of sound.

The study, led by Dr. Frank Lin, tracked 126 adults over ten years, using MRI scans to measure brain changes year over year. Those with hearing impairment at the beginning of the study had an accelerated rate of brain tissue loss, compared with those with normal hearing.

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Dr. Frank Lin

While hearing loss has already been attributed to the long-term effects of depression, sadness, and social isolation, a rapid decrease in brain tissue loss adds significantly to concerns around preventing hearing loss.

But it’s not all bad news - while there's a tendency to ignore hearing loss, the best thing you can do is see a professional as soon as you notice a change:

"If you want to address hearing loss well, you want to do it sooner rather than later. If hearing loss is potentially contributing to these differences we're seeing on MRI, you want to treat it before these brain structural changes take place." - Dr. Frank Lin

Hearing loss has the potential to negatively affect just about every part of our lives - but new research suggests that properly fitted hearing aids do help to reduce depression and promote social engagement. There has also been some preliminary research that suggests properly fitted hearing aids may slow down the progression of cognitive decline. More research is required before we can make any definitive claims regarding cognition and memory impairments.

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Our team at Grand River Hearing & Tinnitus Centre can help prevent and manage existing hearing loss - including ensuring your hearing aids are properly fitted. We aren't satisfied until your setting is 100% correct for your needs.

Click HERE to book a consultation at one of our locations in Kitchener or Waterloo, and learn more about how you can prevent the devastating effects of advanced hearing loss.