Is There a Link Between Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline?

10/16/2022 | Hearing Loss, Patient Resources | 0 comments

Our hearing is more important to everyday life than we’d like to admit. As one of our most used senses, we always encourage the residents of North Florida to do everything they can to protect their hearing and ensure its health.

We know that if left untreated, there is a significant chance that those who live with severe hearing loss could develop cognitive issues. These issues can include depression, dementia, or even Alzheimer’s disease. 

Losing control over your brain functions is a devastating diagnosis; we want to do everything we can to prevent this. If your decline is identified early, we have procedures that can slow the progress and manage your hearing loss, but only if caught early on. 

We’re always searching for new ways to identify emerging issues within our patients and cognitive screening is the future.

Hearing loss Defined

Hearing loss can be defined by so many different things that we, as audiologists, need to have knowledge of many other medical conditions. 

Conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, eye impairment, or medication side effects. Hearing loss can also be caused by a lack of exercise, poor sleeping habits, or a poor diet.

Staying on top of any changes in your hearing will help us spot any adverse developments to treat them early. This is part of our service to you and your overall health. 

Cognitive Decline Defined

Cognitive decline is a little tougher to categorize as it presents itself in many different ways. However, similar to hearing loss, cognitive decline can develop slowly over time. 

Mental issues, including memory loss and dexterity issues, are definite signs of cognitive decline and should be addressed by professionals immediately. 

We work hard to prevent these conditions from happening. 

Taking good care of your hearing is a great way to stave off any declining cognitive issues. 

To Find Out if Your Hearing Loss is Affecting Your Cognitive Skills The Schedule An Evaluation Right Here

What The Science Says

For years, medical professionals thought that hearing loss was nothing more than an inconvenience that many people experience at a certain age. With today’s technology and testing, we now know that hearing loss can have much more extensive effects on many other aspects of our health. 

Hearing loss plays a prominent role in brain health. It could have enormous consequences since as many as 26 million Americans over age 50, including two-thirds of adults over age 70, are hard of hearing, according to a 2011 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

This kind of proof leads us to work harder at identifying hearing loss symptoms and work on new ways to prevent it. 

Neglected Symptoms

Your brain functions on many different levels, and if any of them are at fault, then we want to start treatment right away. Here are the aspects we measure in order to monitor your cognitive capabilities.

  1. Language—Tracking letter and word perception through naming
  2. Memory—Testing letter and word retention accuracy
  3. Visuospatial—Monitoring general motor skills and noting visual acuity
  4.  Delayed Recall—Tests motion and shape memory
  5. Motor Perception—Tracks your executive function and how well you pay attention
  6. Abstraction—Being able to think about and follow abstract thoughts

If you notice a steep decline related to any of these in yourself or a loved one, please get in touch with us as soon as you can. 

Treatment Options

We always want to be the first to know when anything is affecting your hearing so we can address it immediately. This is part of our commitment to our communities here in Pensacola and Gulf Breeze. 

We use cognitive screening to aid us in identifying any underlying issues that may be creeping up. We are very thankful to have this testing capability as it gives us a real advantage in the fight against cognitive decline.

Your health never stops changing, so routine checkups are encouraged. Here’s why we are such big fans of this process.

  • Understand your hearing loss better because we can identify all aspects that might affect it.
  • Administer further testing for anything we find and potentially refer you for treatment for other aspects of your health.
  • Early screening can detect signs of cognitive decline that you and everyone around you might not have noticed yet.
  • An annual cognitive assessment gives us an excellent view of your cognitive abilities. It allows us to monitor for any changes so we can adjust your hearing treatment to match them.

The First Step to Getting Help

Our combined years of experience give us a solid foundation to help you prevent or treat any kind of hearing loss or illness associated with hearing loss, including cognitive decline. We encourage everyone over the age of fifty to get a screening regularly. 

If you have any questions about the process or your own situation, then please call us. We are always available for a no-obligation phone call to discuss what your next steps should be. 

Don’t hesitate. Your hearing and cognitive ability are too important to neglect, and we want you to have both for many years in the future.

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Jennifer LaBorde Au.D., CCC-A

Dr. Jennifer LaBorde is an audiologist who has been in practice since 1999. She has a Masters in Communication Disorders from University of South Alabama, Bachelor’s of Science in Communication Disorders from the University of Mississippi, a Doctorate in Audiology from the University of Florida and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology.
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