Cognition and Hearing Loss Series Part 1

Hearing loss is a common occurrence in older adults. Approximately 1 in 3 people between the ages of 65 and 74 and approximately 1 in 2 people over the age of 75 have hearing loss. Despite this, only 15% of individuals who could benefit from hearing aids seek treatment, and individuals often wait as long as 7 years before taking action. Research from Johns Hopkins and the National Institute of Aging is now showing there may be consequences for leaving hearing loss untreated. Potential consequences include increased risk of dementia, falls, depression, and social isolation.

You may be wondering how hearing loss has the ability to influence these factors. In regards to higher risk of dementia and falls, it is thought when a person is struggling to hear, the brain is devoting valuable resources towards hearing, taking away from other areas such as memory, thinking, and balance. Furthermore, patients with untreated hearing loss are more likely to withdraw from social settings like going out to eat or interacting with family and friends, which can increase their likelihood for depression. Straining to hear takes additional effort and can lead to feeling tired or fatigued. Needless to say, hearing loss can have a significant impact on a person’s life.

The next few weeks will delve into this topic in more detail. Be on the lookout for part two of this series next week! For more information or to schedule an appointment with a Doctor of Audiology, contact Gardner Audiology at 1-800-277-1182 or email

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