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Did You Know…

Hearing Loss is Linked to Cognitive Function Decline?

As we age, it’s typical for older adults to undergo some level of cognitive decline. This could mean experiencing “senior moments” more frequently, facing increased difficulty with focusing and recalling memories, or even dealing with disorders like dementia. While preventing these things entirely is not yet possible, it is possible to slow down their progression with the use of hearing aids.

Age-related hearing loss affects around a third of adults over the age of 65, and it may be connected to cognitive decline. Though it isn’t clear if hearing loss alone causes accelerated cognitive decline in older adults, for people already diagnosed with dementia, untreated hearing loss can accelerate cognitive decline. Also, studies have shown that the use of hearing aids can help a person reduce their risk of developing dementia.

There are a few possible explanations for the connection between hearing loss and cognitive impairment:

When a person’s ability to hear diminishes, their brain has to work that much harder to decipher and understand the sounds around them. This means that fewer cognitive resources are available for things like working memory and long-term recall, causing issues with cognitive ability.

When understimulated, brain cells will shrink, causing cognitive issues. Hearing loss may cause this issue, given the lack of stimulation from sound where there was previously. In fact, in individuals with hearing loss, parts of the brain that are responsible for receiving and processing sound have been shown to shrink.

Social isolation, which is strongly linked to hearing loss, can also cause a person’s brain to become understimulated. Not only can this cause increased cognitive decline, but social isolation can also lead to mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

If you or a loved one are in need of care for cognitive decline related to hearing loss, schedule an appointment at one of our five locations in Pittsburgh, PA, or schedule a House Call.



Evidence-Based Evaluations

Understanding the Risk of Cognitive Impairment & Why it Matters to Me

Around 30 million to 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss that significantly decreases their quality of life due to loss of cognitive function. Plus, the more severe the hearing loss, the more severe the loss of cognitive function tends to be. Due to this close connection between brain function and hearing ability, we offer tests for cognitive impairment that allow our audiologists to better treat an individual’s hearing loss.

For older adults, scheduling a cognitive test should be a top priority, given the increased risk of both cognitive decline and hearing loss in older people, as well as how interconnected these issues can be. Moreover, these issues can be very dangerous, with hearing loss and dementia making seniors more vulnerable to potentially fatal falls.

If you or a loved one are having issues with cognitive ability, such as memory issues, issues planning ahead, issues with problem-solving, or trouble completing tasks or daily activities that used to be easy, it’s time to schedule an appointment with our experts at Hearing Unlimited.

Cognitive Impairment Treatment & You

Maintain Your Brain with Hearing Aids 

A reputable study found that people with hearing loss who wore hearing aids were at a lower risk for developing depression and cognitive issues like dementia than those who left their hearing loss untreated. Plus, those who used hearing aids also experienced the same rate of cognitive decline as people without hearing loss.

This means that hearing aids are a useful, if not critical, tool in preventing accelerated cognitive decline and cognitive impairment disorders. At Hearing Unlimited, we offer hearing evaluations and comprehensive hearing aid services to help our patients restore their hearing and prevent these issues. 

We offer many different styles and brands of hearing aids to best your individual needs, and with our Hear For Life Program, we also promise to care for your hearing aid throughout the lifetime of the device. 

It’s never too early to start taking care of your ears. Preventative care is the most effective form of care, so we offer our services to people of all ages. Schedule an appointment with our audiologists today and get the comprehensive care you need to keep your brain healthy. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of cognitive impairment have been linked to hearing loss?

Studies show that age-related hearing loss significantly increases a person’s risk for cognitive decline, cognitive impairment, and dementia. What this means is that hearing loss can affect a person’s long- and short-term memory, ability to focus, reasoning skills, processing speed, and more. These issues can affect a person’s relationships, their ability to go about day-to-day life, and their ability to live independently. 

Because these issues with cognition affect every aspect of a person’s life, they are particularly important to address and treat quickly. Luckily, the use of hearing aids has been shown to reduce the progression of cognitive decline, which is where we come in!

How do hearing aids help with slowing the progression of cognitive impairment disorders?

Hearing loss has been connected to cognitive decline in many different ways. Though experts are not yet exactly sure why this connection exists, what we do know is that people with cognitive impairment disorders and untreated hearing loss see a quicker progression in the severity of their disorders than their counterparts who do wear hearing aids.

Experts theorize that hearing loss may cause the brain to work harder to decipher and understand sounds, reducing a person’s cognitive resources that would typically be used for other things like memory recall. Another theory is that social isolation, commonly seen in people with age-related hearing loss, causes the brain to be understimulated, which can also lead to cognitive decline. Whatever the reason, by addressing and treating hearing loss through the use of hearing aids, the negative effects of hearing loss on the brain can be counteracted. 

Do you conduct cognitive tests, hearing tests, and hearing aid fittings for adults?

Yes! We know how important the ability to hear is to a person’s quality of life and cognitive ability, so we’re proud to offer comprehensive care to our patients, including all of the above services and more. With five hearing aid centers near you and the option to schedule house calls, we aim to make getting care as easy as possible.

How do I get started with a hearing doctor near me?

We’re glad you asked! If you’re looking for a hearing loss doctor or hearing aid specialist in Pittsburgh, PA, look no further. Take care of your hearing and protect your brain health by scheduling an appointment with us today!