Will Hearing Loss Shrink Your Brain?

Past research has linked memory loss and dementia with hearing loss and now here is an excerpt from an article by Kristen Fischer, Published online January 29, 2014 in the Helathline News.

Studies in the past have linked hearing loss to structural differences in human and animal brains. They’ve found that brains are sometimes smaller in people and animals with poor hearing. 

In the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, 126 participants undergo yearly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to track brain changes for up to a decade. They also have physical exams and hearing tests.

When the study period began in 1994, 75 participants had normal hearing, and 51 had impaired hearing that included at least a 25-decibel loss. Lin found that people with hearing loss at the start of the study had quicker rates of brain atrophy than those with normal hearing.

The scientists say that people with diminished hearing lost more than an additional cubic centimeter of brain tissue each year compared to those with normal hearing. People with hearing loss also experienced more shrinkage in the superior, middle, and inferior temporal gyri—parts of the brain that process sound and speech.

After 30 years of helping people hear I can tell you that I am not surprised by these findings.

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