Does Hearing Loss Contribute to Brain Atrophy?

Woman with long dark hair and black rimmed glasses experiencing cognitive decline.

As we get older we start to have difficulty hearing clearly and we typically just accept it as a normal part of growing older. Maybe we need to ask people to speak up or repeat themselves when they talk. Perhaps the volume on our TV keeps getting louder. We may even discover that we’re becoming forgetful.
Loss of memory is also frequently viewed as a standard part of aging because the senior population is more susceptible to Alzheimer’s and dementia than the younger population. But what if the two were in some way related? And, even better, what if there was a way to address hearing loss and also maintain your memories and mental health?

The link between cognitive decline and hearing loss

Most people do not connect hearing loss with mental decline and dementia. However, the connection is very clear if you look in the appropriate places: if you’re experiencing hearing loss, even at low levels, studies have revealed there’s a considerable risk of developing dementia or cognitive decline.
Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are also fairly prevalent in people who suffer from hearing loss. The key point here is that hearing loss, mental health problems, and cognitive decline all affect our ability to socialize.

Why does hearing loss impact cognitive decline?

There is a connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline, and though there’s no solid proof that there is a direct cause and effect relationship, experts are exploring some compelling clues. They have pinpointed two main scenarios that they think lead to problems: the inability to socialize and your brain working overtime.
Studies have demonstrated that depression and anxiety are often the result of loneliness. And when people suffer from hearing loss, they’re less likely to socialize with other people. Many people find it difficult to go out to the movies or dinner because they can’t hear very well. Mental health issues can be the result of this path of solitude.

Studies have also revealed that when someone has hearing impairment, the brain has to work overtime to make up for the reduced stimulation. Eventually, the part of the brain responsible for other tasks, like holding memories, has to use some of its resources to help the part of the brain responsible for hearing. Cognitive decline will then develop faster than normal as the overtaxed brain strains to keep up.

How to fight cognitive decline with hearing aids

Hearing aids are our first line of defense against mental decline, mental health problems, and dementia. When people use hearing aids to manage hearing loss, studies have shown that they were at a reduced risk of dementia and had improved cognitive function.
We would see fewer cases of cognitive decline and mental health problems if more individuals would just use their hearing aids. Between 15% and 30% of people who need hearing aids actually use them, which accounts for between 4.5 million and 9 million people. The World Health Organization estimates that there are almost 50 million people who cope with some kind of dementia. If hearing aids can decrease that number by even just a couple of million people, the quality of life for many individuals and families will improve exponentially.
Are you ready to start hearing better – and remembering things without any issue? Get on the path to better hearing and improved mental health by reaching out to us for a consultation.


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.