Hearing loss individually related to cognitive decline for adults with normal hearing
According to JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surgery - a peer-reviewed medical journal published by the American Medical Association which covers every aspect of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases of the head, neck, ear, nose, and throat - the connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss may be present during earlier stages of hearing loss than previously acknowledged. The present threshold of 25 dB that is associated with adult hearing loss might actually be too high.
Analysts from Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons studied statistics from individuals who were at least 50-years-old and had undergone pure-tone audiometry and cognitive testing in the Hispanic Community Health Study and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study. They discovered that hearing loss was individually related to a cognitive decline for adults who had normal hearing (an average pure-tone of ≤25 dB) for all cognitive tests. The greatest deterioration in an individual’s cognitive abilities was discovered in those who were beginning to show signs of hearing impairment.
Additional Research Needed
Justin S. Golub, MD, MS, the assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and a hearing specialist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital stated that physicians used 25 dB - the sound of a whisper - to characterize the threshold between an adult’s healthy hearing abilities and their mild hearing loss, but this an arbitrary level. It was previously accepted that cognitive deterioration would not start until individuals passed this threshold, but no one verified this.
Researchers have proposed that any future studies that explore whether hearing loss treatment can prevent worsening cognition and dementia should examine a lower threshold that would define hearing loss instead of the commonly used 25 dB threshold.
Other Health-related Issues caused by Hearing Loss
Many individuals who have hearing loss believe that they can navigate through life without seeking treatment. While it may be true for some people, hearing loss can have a negative effect on other areas. In addition to cognitive decline, loss of hearing it may cause dementia, depression, and social isolation. It is best to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. Hearing aids cannot restore hearing abilities that have been lost, but it can preserve the remaining hearing abilities that you still have.
Those who cannot hear very clearly are less inclined to socialize. Subsequently, they engage in less stimulating discussions. If this pattern goes on over the course of several years, it can have a significantly negative effect on a person’s cognitive abilities. According to The Lancet, preventing or getting treatment for hearing loss can lower the likelihood of dementia by over 9%.
The National Institute of Health is now providing funding for a study on the use of hearing aids and how it may slow cognitive decline in older individuals who have hearing loss due to their age.
If you, or a loved one, are showing any signs of hearing loss, please contact us immediately at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for a free hearing test and consultation. Our hearing instrument specialists will recommend the appropriate solutions for your hearing needs. Remember that the ability to hear is precious, so don’t wait until it’s gone to get treatment.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require new hearing aid fittings, repairs and re-fittings. We ask that you please wait in your car, while wearing your mask, and place your hearing aids in a clean zip lock bag. We will come to your car to get them. If you are having any issues with your hearing aids, or an assistive listening device, please contact us before visiting one of our office locations.