Category: Dementia

Does Hearing Loss Contribute to Dementia?

Senior woman with hearing loss and dementia

In a recent article, Philly.com asked an important question: How might hearing loss contribute to dementia? (Dec 8, 2017). The article points to a study performed by the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health that attempted to find a correlation between hearing loss and cognitive decline.

Two thousand older adults took part in the study which concluded that:

  • Older adults with hearing loss did, in fact, show an increased risk of cognitive decline
  • Cognitive decline appeared to accelerate over the six-year period in which the study was performed
  • Older adults with hearing loss (impairment) had a 25% greater risk of dementia than the control group

According to the United States Census Bureau, the US population is much older than it was just 16 years ago. The median age grew from 36 years to almost 38 years due largely to the advancing age of the Baby Boomer generation. Moreover, the amount of people aged 65+ grew from 35 million in 2000 to just under 50 million in 2016 which correlates to a higher incidence of hearing loss and a higher risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

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