Recent Medical Research from Johns Hopkins Medical Center indicates that hearing loss can be a leading cause for developing Dementia. A medical study at Johns Hopkins Medical Center found that hearing loss can increase your risk of developing Dementia by 200-500%. Social isolation, cerebral atrophy (aka. brain shrinkage) and increased cognitive load (e.g. the amount of work your brain uses to hear) are considered to be the basis of hearing loss-induced dementia – even for individuals with a mild hearing loss.

Individuals with hearing loss are at a increased risk for developing cognitive decline and Dementia. While the risk increases with degree of hearing loss, it is important to note that even a mild hearing loss (e.g. having some difficulty hearing in background noise, turning up the TV a bit more than your spouse / family, having a hard time following a conversation in the car, etc.,) can increase your risk by 200%!

However, recent evidence from Columbia University finds that restoring hearing with today’s leading treatment options could prevent or slow down the development of Dementia.


1. Social Isolation

Withdrawal from social situations is common in individuals with hearing loss. Feelings of embarrassment, fear of making mistakes in conversations, and feeling like you are not part of the conversation are common in individuals hearing impairment – even those with a mild impairment.

Proper hearing health care can enable those with hearing impairment to maintain an active, engaging lifestyle. Keeping the brain mentally fit, with social interactions, communication, reading, playing games, etc., is a recipe for a long, healthy life!

2. Cerebral Atrophy

Multiple scientific studies have demonstrated that hearing impairment is associated with accelerated brain atrophy in both the overall brain, as well as even more advanced reductions in volume associated with the memory, hearing, speech and language portions of the brain. 

Cerebral atrophy is a hallmark feature of individuals with Dementia. A decrease in brain volume is essentially the result of losing millions of neurons. As the auditory system ages, we lose sensory cells in our ears. Each of those cells has the potential to make connections with millions of cells throughout the brain in areas involved with hearing, speech, memory, and beyond; thus losing your hearing with aging effects much more than just your ears!

3. Cognitive Overload (i.e. Working Your Brain Too Hard To Hear)

Hearing loss is not normal, and neither is the excess strain that is puts on your brain. While hearing loss may be more common (up to 50% of all people 60-70 years old have hearing loss, and 66% of people over 70 suffer from hearing loss), it is critical that hearing loss be treated. With hearing loss, the brain is constantly on ‘overload’ trying to fill in the missing pieces, and follow the conversation. For example, the image above placed an increased load on your brain by making you fill in the missing pieces to decipher what was written. Now imagine reading a 256-page novel written like this! The extra time it takes you to follow what is being said in a conversation can really add up, and put excessive ‘wear and tear’ on your brain.ms.