From Science to Solutions: The Link Between Cognitive Decline and Hearing Loss

by | Jun 29, 2023 | Cognitive Decline, Patient Resources

Living with hearing loss can be tough, especially when it goes untreated. And to make matters even more difficult, more and more recent scientific research is showing that there are direct correlations between untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline.

This is why it’s so important to take the proper steps to preserve your hearing health. And if you (or a loved one) are experiencing symptoms of hearing loss, it’s crucial to visit a hearing professional to have your hearing tested right away so that you can receive the proper treatment.

Keep reading for insights from the biggest peer-reviewed study in history on the connection between hearing devices and cognitive decline.

A Groundbreaking Peer-Reviewed Study

In December 2022, CNN Health released an article that went viral. This article presents the findings of an extensive study examining the link between untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline. This study is one of the most in-depth studies ever conducted on the connection between hearing aids and cochlear implants and cognitive decline.

The study, conducted by Brian Sheng Yep Yeo, MBBS1; Harris Jun Jie Muhammad Danial Song, MBBS1; and Emma Min Shuen Toh, MBBS1 of JAMA Neurology, comprised a global trial encompassing 13 studies in Europe, 12 studies in North America, three studies in Asia, and two studies in Australasia.

This meta-analysis involved 31 studies with a total of 137,484 participants, consisting of 25 observational studies and six trials. The research investigated the association between hearing loss and cognitive decline across various durations, ranging from two to 25 years.

Given that subjective cognitive decline (SCD) affects approximately 11.7% of adults aged 65 years and older, it has always been crucial to raise awareness about the connection between untreated hearing loss and cognitive challenges.

This study was quite detailed and comprehensive and yielded some significant findings.

Key Findings From the Study

The study yielded two significant findings:

  • Reduction in long-term cognitive decline 19% 19%
  • Lower risk of progressing to dementia 20% 20%
Firstly, the use of hearing aids was linked to a 19% reduction in long-term cognitive decline. Senior study author Dr. Benjamin Tan, Dean’s Fellow at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, emphasizes, “Dementia is far easier to prevent than treat, and exceedingly difficult to reverse.”

Secondly, even individuals with mild cognitive impairment (“early dementia”) benefitted from using hearing aids, experiencing a roughly 20% lower risk of progressing to dementia. This suggests that while it’s never too late to begin using hearing aids, early treatment might help preserve cognition to a greater extent.

The study’s outcome can be summed up as follows:

“This meta-analysis establishes a connection between the use of hearing aids and cochlear implants and a reduced risk of subsequent cognitive decline. Physicians should strongly encourage patients with hearing loss to adopt such devices.”

What Does This Mean for You?

So, what does this information mean for you? Well, we tend to be diligent about going to the dentist and getting our annual physicals. But when was the last time you had your hearing tested?

Often, hearing health is an afterthought.

I hope the findings from this study encourage you to prioritize your hearing health. After all, in doing so, you’re also prioritizing your cognitive health.

Here at Port Credit Audiology & Hearing Aid Clinic, we offer comprehensive hearing assessments that are quick, thorough, and pain-free.

If your untreated hearing loss is getting worse, please don’t put off caring for your hearing.

If you or a loved one is concerned about your hearing, then we’re here to help.

cognitive health on track with better hearing

With appointments for new patients currently available, please call us at (905) 990-3755 to schedule a convenient date/time for your visit

Alternatively, you can request a callback and a friendly member of our team will call you and answer any questions that you may have.

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Dario Coletta

Dario Coletta M.Sc., Au.D., Reg. CASLPO Doctor of Audiology is the head Audiologist of Port Credit Audiology & Hearing Aid Clinic. Dario obtained his Doctor of Audiology from A.T. Still University and Master of Science in Audiology from the University of British Columbia following his Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto. He currently holds lecturer status at the University of Toronto in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. Dario continues to work part-time at the Toronto General Hospital and has knowledge in advanced diagnostics, bespoke hearing aid fittings, and cerumen management. Dario also has a special interest in managing and counselling patients with tinnitus. He brings knowledge and efficiency in prescribing and fitting the newest hearing aid technology, and is committed to helping patients find an individualized solution for their hearing healthcare concerns.