A Possible Link Between Hearing Loss and Mental Decline

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February 1  |  Blog, York ENT Blog  |   James Rejowski

There was an interesting article written by Anne Stein in the Health and Family Section of the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday, January 28, 2015. She references the work of Dr. Frank Lin, an ear specialist at Johns Hopkins University, and Dr. Richard Gurgel from the University of Utah. Their research has suggested that there may be an association between hearing loss, reduction in cognitive ability, and dementia.

The article cites their research, which demonstrates several findings in this regard. One investigation showed a 30-40% faster decline in mental acuity in patients 75-84 years old over six years in those with hearing loss than in those without.

Another work showed that in a group of seniors followed over time, those with hearing loss at the beginning of the study were more likely to develop dementia. More severe losses were associated with a greater likelihood.

The exact mechanisms of these associations are not completely clear and further research is ongoing.

The article points out that many people who could benefit from amplification do not pursue it, either due to the perceived stigma of hearing aids or acceptance of hearing loss as a normal consequence of aging. The results of these efforts may well change this and have positive impact on the quality of people’s lives.

Auditory Services of York ENT Surgical Consultants, serving Hinsdale, La Grange, Bolingbrook, and the surrounding communities, offers comprehensive evaluation of hearing disorders in adults and children as well as a full complement of hearing aid services and fittings.

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