Being able to communicate with ease has been determined to be a critical topic and aspect of healthy aging. Cognitive function and hearing loss appear to be linked affecting mental acuity in older adults. A greater emphasis is therefore being placed on hearing health since 2014. The early diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss can therefore potentially preserve hearing abilities and brain function.
Dr. Frank R. Lin, M.D., PhD., Otolaryngologist and Investigative Researcher at John Hopkins University (2013-2014), conducted studies linking hearing loss with cognitive processing decline. His MRI studies performed over a 10 year period suggested that, “Declines in hearing abilities may accelerate gray matter atrophy.” He added that seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than those who retain their hearing. Dr. Frank R. Lin noted further that hearing aids may not only improve hearing but may indeed, “preserve the brain”. Furthermore, according to Siemens at usasiemens.com/hearing, it is critically important to counsel patients regarding the consequences of ignoring their hearing loss. The researchers concluded that, “People with hearing loss on average wait seven years from when they are diagnosed to seek treatment, even though the sooner hearing loss is detected and treatment begins, the more hearing ability can be preserved.”.
Baseline audiological testing is therefore strongly advised to be included as part of wellness and health evaluations. In cooperation with the primary care physician and otolaryngology specialist, hearing evaluations are necessary to address hearing declines and potential mental health risks over time.
John Hopkins Medicine. Hearing Loss Accelerates Brain Function Decline in Older Adults, (http:www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/hearing_loss_accelerates_brain_function_decline_in_older_adults)
The Hearing Review. Hearing Loss Linked to Accelerated Brain Tissue Loss (http:www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/hearing_loss_linked_to_accelerated_brain_tissue_loss)
Siemens Hearing Instruments, Inc. 10 Constitution Avenue, Piscataway, N.J. 088545