Q: Does hearing loss cause Alzheimer’s?
A: Recent studies have shown that people who have hearing loss are significantly more likely to experience cognitive problems, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The exact reasons for this are still being researched, but the prominent theories revolve around social isolation, increased processing requirements caused by having to “listen harder”, and atrophy of the auditory parts of the brain as the ear stops delivering certain sounds to it. Long-term studies are now being conducted to figure out if treating the hearing loss with hearing aids will decrease the likelihood of developing dementia. Since hearing aids address all three of the theoretical causes, it makes sense – but time will tell. So if your family members nagging you wasn’t enough of a reason to get your hearing tested or try hearing aids, here’s another one for you. Maybe it’s time to schedule a consultation with an audiologist.