According to research by John Hopkins which was published in JAMA Internal Medicine this month you are more likely to have declining brain function, including memory loss, as an older adult if your hearing is impaired. The study tested the cognitive function of adults with hearing loss over a six year period and found that their cognitive abilities declined 30-40% faster than older adults with normal hearing.
Researchers are unsure why older adults with hearing loss are more likely to have declining brain function, but some theories are that the brain uses too much energy trying to process sound, or that there are underlying brain problems that lead to both hearing loss and cognitive decline. Previous research has also linked decreased brain function to social isolation - a problem that can be compounded by impaired hearing. Whatever the reason the study emphasizes the need to treat hearing problems adequately and the need for younger people to take steps in preventing hearing loss early on.
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