Hearing loss typically happens gradually, most people don’t realize it is even happening. Which is why it is known as the ‘invisible’ health problem. Recent research has uncovered crucial links between serious health issues and loss of hearing. These include both mental and physical problems such as depression, dementia, cognition, and falling.

Connection between hearing loss and health issues

Dementia

There has been extensive research by the National Institute on Aging and John Hopkins who found older Americans with hearing loss are notably more likely to succumb to dementia, problems with remembering and thinking, when compared those with normal hearing.

Cognitive Function

The brain’s cognitive workload is increased significantly with untreated mild hearing loss, according to research. More effort and energy is spent trying to understand what is being said, that it is limiting the ability to store what you hear in your memory

Depression

Many studies have detected a connection between hearing loss and depression. Researchers from John Hopkins found seniors with hearing loss were over 55% more likely to experience depression and stress, over those with normal hearing.

Falling

Those with untreated hearing loss tend to listen more intensively, reducing the resources needed for stability. “People with impaired hearing have poor awareness of their overall environment, and that makes them more likely to trip and fall,” says Dr. Frank Lin, an Otologist and epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “If hearing loss imposes a cognitive load, there may be fewer cognitive resources to help with maintaining balance and gait.”

Brain Shrinkage

Though the brain is known to shrink as we get older, for many aging adults with unaddressed hearing loss, this shrinkage seems to be happening faster, according to studies by the National Institute on Aging and John Hopkins.

If you are experiencing any signs of hearing loss, ringing in your ears, asking people to repeat themselves, reading lips, turning up the volume on the TV or radio, we encourage you to contact the doctors at Orlando Ear Nose & Throat for an evaluation.