Blog Article

How Does Hearing Loss affect the Brain?

How Does Hearing Loss affect the Brain?

Did you know that hearing loss is increasingly common in the UK? An estimated 11 million people are living with some level of hearing loss. With at least 40% of people affected by the age of 50 and by 70, more than 70% of people have hearing loss.

While hearing loss is often considered a physical condition, it can also have significant side effects on the brain. Let’s discuss five ways hearing loss can impact your brain.

 

Keep your brain in top condition!

Studies have shown that hearing loss is linked to cognitive decline and dementia, with research from John Hopkins University showing that 8% of dementia cases are caused by hearing loss.

In another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, people with mild hearing loss are twice as likely to develop dementia, and those with moderate to severe hearing loss are three to five times more likely.

 

Changes to your social life

Hearing loss can significantly impact social relationships leading to isolation and loneliness. This can then contribute to depression and anxiety. A study by the University of Manchester found that patients with untreated hearing loss are more likely to experience depression and other mental health struggles.

Participants in the study that used their hearing aid most of the time showed a major improvement in the symptoms of depression compared to those that only used them occasionally or not at all.

 

Brain Reorganisation

Hearing loss can lead to changes in the brain's structure and function. When the brain does not receive enough auditory stimulation, it will begin to reorganise itself, which can result in changes in the auditory processing areas.

This reorganisation can make it challenging to hear and understand speech. These changes in the brain can also affect the performance of hearing aids or cochlear implants. Longer and more severe hearing loss can determine the effectiveness of these treatments.

 

You might fall more

Hearing loss can dramatically increase the risk of falls, particularly in older adults. One study found that people with mild hearing loss were three times more likely to experience falls than those without hearing loss.

 

Accelerated Brain Atrophy

Another way hearing loss affects the brain is by accelerating brain atrophy. This means that when you have hearing loss, you lose neurons, and the connections between these cells can shrink the brain over time. According to a study published in Neuroimage, individuals with hearing loss experienced more significant brain atrophy than those without hearing loss.

 

Could Hearing Loss Affect Your Brain?

If you or someone you know is experiencing hearing loss, it is essential to explore available treatment options. Address hearing loss early on to avoid or lessen the impact of this and focus on enjoying your life!

Here at Summertown Audiology, we want you to live your best life and stay fit and healthy - get in touch to book your hearing test or ear wax removal appointment today HERE

 

Date: 13 June 2023