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Does Loss Of Hearing Affect Memory

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Hearing Loss Is Commonly Connected To Memory Loss

Its often hard to recognize the early symptoms and signs of hearing loss. Hearing loss doesnt develop over night. Harm to your hearing is commonly worse than you would want by the time you actually notice the symptoms. However, if you begin to notice symptoms associated with memory loss and get an exam early, theres a good chance you can prevent some damage to your hearing.

I Heard That Hearing Aids Are Difficult To Use

There is a breaking-in period as youand your central auditory system and brainadjust to life with hearing aids. Thats why most doctors and hearing centers include a trial period, so you can be sure the type youve chosenwhether its a miniature behind-the-ear model or one that fits into your earis right for you.

Hearing Loss May Be Tied To Memory Loss For Some

The American Academy of Neurology is the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with 36,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

Request An Appointment With Swhc Today

If you or your loved ones are experiencing hearing loss or impairment, we can help you at South Western Hearing Centers . We are the leading provider of hearing healthcare services in the United States. We provide a range of services, including audiology and speech-language pathology, to help people with hearing loss or impairment live better lives.

Our team of audiologists and speech-language pathologists are experts in diagnosing and treating all types of hearing disorders. Were committed to helping people with hearing problems enjoy life more fully by providing them with the best care possible. If you want to know more about our services, please contact us today!

How Human Memory Works

How Hearing Loss Affects Your Memory

The extreme complexity of human memory is amplified by the widespread nature of memory across all areas of the brain. By widespread, we mean that there is no single area of the brain we can point to as being the sole location where memory storage exists.

Neurons in the brain are responsible for creating memory storage in the brain. Billions of these create memories with the help of chemical and electrical signals. Because these connections are innumerable and very intricate, memory is not nearly fully understood by researchers.

What research has consistently shown us, however, is that the creation of memories occurs in three stages: encoding, storage, and retrieval.

When we process and store information around us in the environment, we are utilizing the stage referred to as encoding. The attention that we pay to the stimulus is what aids you in filtering. Filtering is the process of ridding your mind of unneeded information and retaining the important things you hope to store. If we did not do this, our brain would try to store every stimulus you were exposed to and your memory would quickly fill to capacity.

All information that we try to store has two ending results. It is either lost, or it becomes stored in long-term memory. In order to move it from short-term to long-term memory, there are three keys to help us successfully do this. These are attention, repetition, and association. This is helpful because our memory of information will improve as we become:

What About Tinnitus And Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is slightly more common among people who have than people who don’t, at least one study has indicated. In that study, conducted in Taiwan, 3.1% of tinnitus patients developed Alzheimer’s over a 10-year period, compared to 2% of those who did not have tinnitus. However, scientists do not know why this relationship exists, and more research is needed. 

How Does Hearing Loss Affect The Brain

Cognition is the way that your brain processes thoughts. Scientists have long researched the connections between cognition and hearing lossâespecially in older adults. However, the general population should also be aware of the connections between hearing loss, brain function, and mental health. 

Loss Of Memory Frequently Points To Hearing Loss

Its frequently hard to detect the early symptoms and signs of hearing loss. Hearing loss is one of those slowly advancing conditions. Damage to your hearing is usually further along than you would like by the time you actually notice the symptoms. However, if you begin noticing symptoms related to memory loss and get checked out early, theres a strong chance you can avoid some damage to your hearing.

Symptoms Of Memory Loss Could Actually Be Hearing Loss

Nick February 13, 2019 Brain Health, Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease, Hearing Health, Hearing Loss, Mental Health, ,

As you know, hearing loss affects far more than your ability to follow conversations. If you have hearing loss, you might have a hard time focusing on tasks, keeping your balance, or localizing the sounds around you. Those with hearing loss are also more prone to trips, slips, and falls, and have far higher rates of hospitalization. Hearing loss has even been linked to social isolation and depression. Furthermore, hearing loss affects the brain as well! If you think your loved one has memory loss, encourage them to get a hearing test. Its possible that their apparent memory loss is actually a sign of hearing loss.

Linking Memory and Hearing Loss

A loved one with memory loss can be a frightening thing. We all know that dementia and Alzheimers disease are becoming more common, and were worried that our loved ones might have the early warning signs of this degenerative brain disease. A recent Baycrest study published in the Canadian Journal on Aging looked at the links between memory and hearing, and found that more than 50% of those who had the early signs of memory loss, such as difficulty focusing, answering questions inappropriately, or confusing dates and times, also had hearing loss. They discovered that these symptoms werent necessarily a sign of memory loss, but of hearing loss!

How Hearing Loss Affects the Brain

Hearing Loss and Social Isolation

Ways Hearing Loss Can Affect Your Memory

Most people consider hearing loss and cognitive impairment as normal when they get older. However, research has revealed a link between hearing loss and mild cognitive impairment, which may be a precursor to Alzheimers disease. According to the research, people with hearing loss were two times more likely to develop cognitive impairment compared to people with normal hearing.

Your hearing plays an important role in keeping your brain and memory sharp, so it is essential to get your hearing tested frequently.

The Upside Of Hearing Aids

While the new study found that for people with hearing loss, using hearing aids was associated with a lower risk of dementia, that doesn’t mean aids can prevent dementia or even reduce risks.

Its just too early to say, without the results of a randomized controlled trial.

Still, the upside of using these devices for hearing loss can be substantial. If someone is considering a hearing aid, we do know that it should help improve the quality of life, help with communication, Deal says. We do know there are benefits, we just dont know if cognition is one of them.

Article originally appeared on Consumer Reports.

How Hearing Loss Might Affect The Brain

Scientists don’t have definitive answers about the effects of hearing loss on brain health. One theory, according to Deal, is that when your hearing is damaged, the brain must expend more effort to decode the sound signals it takes in, possibly at the expense of other brain functions.

Another hypothesis is that hearing loss changes the physical structure of the brain in a way that could harm memoryand some evidence from brain imaging studies supports this theory.

Hearing loss can also increase a persons feeling of social isolation because the condition makes it harder to communicate. And social isolation is linked to a number of health problems, from heart disease to Alzheimers disease.  

Hearing Loss Is Memory Loss

Dementia, Memory Loss, and Hearing Loss


According to the 2016 World Alzheimer Report, 47 million people have dementia. By 2050, that number is expected to exceed 130 million. Since at least 1989, researchers have documented that hearing loss is associated with dementia. One-third of adults age 65-74 and almost half over age 75 hearing loss.

Two hypotheses explain the relationship between hearing loss and cognitive decline. The common cause hypothesis assumes that degeneration of the central nervous system accounts for both hearing loss and cognitive decline. The cascade hypothesis suggests that hearing loss leads to less stimulation of the brain, which then leads to cognitive decline.

A recent study published by Asri Maharani and colleagues in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society followed patients for 18 years to measure associations between hearing aid use and episodic memory, defined as the ability to recall and mentally re-experience specific episodes from ones personal past. The researchers measured the rate of cognitive decline both before and after hearing aid use began in over 2,000 people.

Episodic memory and cognitive decline were measured using a word recall test. Participants were read a list of ten words and then asked to repeat them immediately and again after a short delay. The researchers note that they focused on episodic memory because it is age-sensitive and strongly correlated with dementia. Study participants also self-reported hearing aid use.

Feature image: /iStock

Impacts Of Untreated Hearing Loss

Many people are aware theyre suffering from hearing loss, but find it difficult to get help. Those who have been diagnosed with hearing loss wait, on average, seven years before seeking treatment. The reasons for waiting on help vary; some are frustrated by hearing loss, believing it to be a sign of aging. Others think their condition isnt that severe or may not even realize they have hearing problems.

Unfortunately, allowing hearing loss to remain untreated can lead to some serious consequences. The most recent studies highlight the social, psychological, cognitive and health effects of untreated hearing loss. These effects can vary as well, but all have serious impacts on your quality of life. 

Can Hearing Aids Prevent Memory Loss Down The Road

For people with hearing loss, using a hearing aid is associated with a reduced risk of three common health problems of agingdementia, depression, and fallsaccording to a new study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 

This study adds to the growing body of research that links hearing loss to memory issues and dementia. Cognitive decline is much higher among people with hearing loss, says study author Elham Mahmoudi, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of family medicine at the University of Michigan.

The new study also suggests using hearing aids might help delay the onset of dementia in some people, and it’s the largest study to date to look at this possible connection, according to Mahmoudi.

Here, what this and other research has shown about hearing loss and the brain, and what it all means for you.

Treatment Of Memory Loss

Memory loss treatment depends on what causes it. Often, memory loss might be reversible with treatment. For instance, loss of memory from medicines might resolve by changing the medication. 

Treatment might also be specific to memory loss-related conditions. For instance, drugs for treating Alzheimer’s disease-related memory problems and those for helping lower blood pressure could help decrease your risk of more dementia-related brain damage related to high blood pressure.


The Link Between Hearing Loss And Alzheimers Disease

Adults with hearing loss have a higher risk for Alzheimers and other cognitive disorders

The risk of dementia increases for those with a hearing loss greater than 25 dB. 

36 %

of the risk of dementia was associated with hearing loss for study participants over the age of

60 years

Individuals with moderate to severe hearing loss are up to 5 times as likely to develop dementia.

According to several major studies, older adults with hearing lossespecially men are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, compared to those with normal hearing. Men with hearing loss were 69 percent more likely to develop dementia than those with no hearing impairment.

The risk escalates as a person’s hearing loss worsens. Those with mild hearing impairment are nearly twice as likely to develop dementia compared to those with normal hearing. The risk increases three-fold for those with moderate hearing loss, and five-fold for those with severe impairment.

Hearing Loss & Concentration

In order to follow a conversation, those with hearing loss have to concentrate on what the person is saying as well as try to process that information in order to understand it. This requires a lot of focus.

You may find that when focusing hard on following along with the conversation, you are not storing any of the information that is being discussed. When your brain is working so hard to listen and interpret sounds that it does not have the bandwidth the store what it hears, it is known as cognitive overload.

It is common for those with hearing loss to not remember what they just heard because they are concentrating so hard on trying to hear, their brain never had the opportunity to store any of the information.

Hearing Loss May Be Linked To Mental Decline

    Loss of hearing represents more than just difficulty hearing sounds. It can lead to social isolation and depression. A new study suggests that hearing loss may also be linked to loss of memory and thinking skills.

    In a study published online yesterday in JAMA Internal Medicine, Johns Hopkins researchers found that declines in thinking skills happened faster during a six-year period among people with hearing loss than among those without it. Among the nearly 2,000 volunteers, all over age 70, those with hearing loss we also likely to develop cognitive impairment, defined as a substantial reduction in the score on a key test called the Modified Mini-Mental State Examination. The researchers estimated that it would take a hearing-impaired older adult just under eight years, on average, to develop cognitive impairment compared with 11 years for those with normal hearing.

    This isnt the first time that researchers have explored possible connections between hearing loss and brain function. Some saw what the Hopkins team saw, while others found no connection between hearing loss and thinking skills. The strengths of this study compared to earlier ones are:

       It included older people who had normal tests for memory and thinking at the start.

       All volunteers had standardized hearing tests performed by professionals.

       The same methods for testing hearing and brain function were used throughout the study.

    What Earlier Studies Have Found

    A lot of prior research has found that hearing loss is connected with an increased risk of memory problems.

    In a 2018 analysis published in JAMA OtolaryngologyHead & Neck Surgery, researchers pooled the results of 36 studies and found that age-related hearing loss was linked to an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline and impairment. 

    Fewer studies have been conducted on whether the use of a hearing aid might delay or prevent the onset of dementia, says Jennifer Deal, Ph.D., an assistant scientist in the department of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who wasnt involved in the new study.

    But like the new research, several small studies that have addressed the question in recent years have found that the use of hearing aids is linked with a lower risk of dementia.

    Should You Get Tested For Hearing Loss Or For Dementia

    Symptoms of Memory Loss Could Actually Be Hearing Loss

    As a general rule, you should get your hearing checked first. This is because audiological evaluations are very simple to have done. And for most people, the telltale signs of hearing loss tend to crop up sooner than those for cognitive decline. In other words, sufferers will complain of dropped conversations or muffled sounds before they begin having difficulty remembering names or where they left their keys.

    So whether youâre struggling to make out sounds or recall simple details, you should start with a comprehensive hearing examination before exploring neurological intervention.

    However, traditional hearing tests canât always diagnose the root cause of the problem.

    This is why we use a far more holistic approach to evaluating our patients.

    At What Age Can A Human Survive Independently

    Doctors now consider 22 weeks the earliest gestational age when a baby is “viable,” or able to survive outside the womb. But this is still extremely premature, and a baby born at this age will need a great deal of medical attention. Even if he survives, the risk of permanent disability is very high.

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    The Hidden Link Between Hearing Loss And Memory Loss

    Over time, any number of structural, metabolic, or age-related changes can damage the cochlea, which is the region of the inner ear responsible for converting sound vibrations into nerve impulses. And when left untreated, these changes can result in a gradual inability to detect certain sounds, commonly high pitched or high frequency.

    Although damage to the cochlea can affect people of any age, it is most commonly associated with those over the age of 50. And it is currently one of the leading causes of hearing loss.

    However, gradual hearing loss is not the only symptom of this condition.

    When sufferers struggle to make out words or process conversations, they often have to invest more cognitive effort to understand what is being said. And this places unnecessary load on other regions of the brain â specifically those responsible for memory.

    This explains why the cognitive symptoms of hearing loss are sometimes misdiagnosed as dementia. The more one struggles to process sound, the harder it becomes to recall basic details â like names and dates and times.

    So how do you know if youâre suffering from memory loss, hearing loss, or a combination of the two?

    The short answer is â you get tested.

    What Research On Dementia And Hearing Loss Reveals

    Most recently, a  published in July 2021 found that people who struggle to hear speech in noise were more likely to develop dementia than those with normal hearing, as measured over an 11-year period. This was the first time that speech in noise was specifically studied. However, the study wasn’t capable of determining if untreated hearing loss caused the dementia, only that they’re linked. 

    In a different study, a team at Johns Hopkins looked at cognitive impairment scores over six years for nearly 2,000 seniors. They concluded that those with hearing loss had a faster decline. The volunteers were all cognitively normal when the research began. But by the studys end, people with hearing loss were 24 percent more likely to meet the standard of cognitive impairment compared to people with normal hearing. 

    Another approach is to ask people whether theyve noticed a change. Measures of subjective decline can pick up losses before theyll show up on a test. A large studyusing data drawn from more than 10,000 men age 62 and upran over eight years. It found that the greater their hearing loss, the more likely men were to express concerns about their memory or thinking over time. With even a mild hearing loss, their chance of reporting cognitive decline was 30 percent higher than among those who did not report any hearing loss. With moderate or severe hearing loss, the risk was 42 and 52 percent higher.

    More: Slight hearing loss linked to cognitive decline in new study

    Hearing Loss & Isolation

    Living with untreated hearing loss can make communicating difficult. Because of this, many find themselves skipping social events, even if they are held safely outside in Lorenzi Park, as it is easier to stay home than to get overwhelmed and frustrated when trying to follow a conversation.

    When you spend more time alone, your brain is exposed to fewer stimuli. Slowly over time your brain will become less active, which can lead to structural changes and even cause your brain to shrink.

    Changes in your brain can impact its ability to function, affecting your memory.

    Can Hearing Aids Help Prevent Dementia

    Hearing loss is the third most common health condition affecting older adults, occurring in one-third of people over age 65 and in two-thirds of those over age 70 . It has been identified as one of the top potentially modifiable risk factors for dementia by the Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention, and Care . Although studies suggest that restoring auditory input may help protect cognitive function and improve quality of life , hearing aids are expensive. There are several factors to consider when determining how to cope with hearing loss.


    Mild hearing loss is associated with two-fold greater risk for dementia, while severe hearing loss is associated with 5 times greater risk over 10 years . Several longitudinal studies have found that the rate of cognitive decline is accelerated in dementia patients with hearing loss . Participants with hearing loss experienced rates of cognitive decline that were 30-50% faster than those with normal hearing .

    A recent study following over 1,000 participants in the Rancho Bernardo Study of Healthy Aging for up to 24 years found that hearing impairment was associated with faster age-related declines in global and executive cognitive function . The cognitive decline associated with mild hearing loss was reduced in individuals who attained higher education, but education could not protect against declines associated with moderate to severe hearing loss.



    Hearing Loss May Contribute To Memory Problems

    August 28, 2013

    Want to keep the memory working well into old age? It may be worth paying more attention to your hearing. A new study reports that poor hearing may contribute to memory and thinking problems in old age.

    The findings, published in the American Medical Association journal JAMA Internal Medicine, add to growing evidence that hearing loss may be linked to memory problems, including an increased risk for dementia. With about two thirds of people over 70 suffering from some degree of hearing loss, which often goes untreated, the repercussions could be significant.

    For the study, researchers followed 1,984 older men and women in their 70s over six years. None had serious memory or thinking problems at the start of the study.

    All got hearing exams during the trial, as well as regular tests of memory and cognitive function. Compared to seniors with normal hearing, those with hearing impairment were 24 percent more likely to have memory and thinking deficits. The more severe the hearing loss, the more likely they were to have cognitive problems. But even those with mild hearing loss had a greater rate of cognitive decline.

    The researchers found that those with poor hearing took, on average, 7.7 years to show a 5-point drop on a standard test of memory function. Those with normal hearing, on the other hand, would take 10.9 years to show such a decline.

    How Hearing Loss Affects Your Memory

    Could hearing loss be making you forgetful? Find out how and why hearing loss affects your memory function now.

    About hearing

    Its common knowledge that unresolved hearing loss can have an impact on stress and anxiety levels, but did you know it can affect your memory too? Memory loss is just one of the side effects of reduced hearing function, but it is one of the most important.As well as having a significant impact on your confidence and day-to-day lifestyle, memory loss can often be misinterpreted as the onset of dementia. If you develop age-related hearing loss, for example, a subsequent reduction in memory function may not automatically be linked to hearing issues. However, theres a good chance that your hearing loss is impacting your ability to retain and recall information.

    Animals And Ethics Statement

    Does Hearing Loss Affect Memory?

    Five familial AD mutation male mice , which overexpress five familial AD mutations, were used in the current study. These mutations comprise three in human APP with the Swedish , Florida , and London , and two in human presenilin1, PSEN1 M146L, and PSEN1 L286V. The transgenic mice were purchased from Jackson Laboratory . All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. The animal study was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and the Institutional Review Board of the Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences , and all experiments were performed in accordance with their guidelines.

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