Listen up! – Hearing loss – associated with risk of dementia

Hearing loss can have a more negative impact on the quality of life than obesity, diabetes, strokes, or even cancer.

Studies from John Hopkins University concluded that hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of dementia, falls, and depression. It is also a serious contributing factor to social isolation and loneliness.

Why are people so reluctant to get their hearing checked?  Well, like many ailments, hearing loss carries with it the stigma of being old.  It is true that hearing loss diminishes with age,

  • 30 Percent of people in their 50’s have some hearing loss.
  • For people in their 60’s, it is 45 percent.
  • And for those in their 70’s more than two-thirds have a significant hearing loss.

Because of the stigma of hearing loss, the average older adult waits seven to ten years to get a hearing device.

The right side of your brain processes sounds and the left side of your brain processes comprehension.  Those with hearing loss may say, “Could you repeat that?”  The brain of someone with hearing loss may hear you, but after years of hearing loss, may not be able to comprehend or understand what you said because of the loss of brain function to translate the sound.

Only 20 to 30 percent of all adults who could benefit from a hearing solution end up getting one.  This only makes the matter worse because the longer a person has an uncorrected hearing loss, the greater the risk to the brain of losing the ability to translate the sound of someone talking into comprehensive speech.

AARP, as part of their effort to disrupt aging, is working to end the stigma of hearing loss and use of hearing aids.

Let’s all take care of one another!  Go and get a hearing test, and take someone you love with you to do the same!

Watch this 2-minute video summarizing the John Hopkins research about hearing loss and cognitive decline – and learn the GOOD news that hearing loss is correctable, and you can maintain a healthy brain!


Jean Garboden, Director of Education & Innovation at Compass Senior Living

About the Author: Jean Garboden is an Elder Advocate and Eden Alternative Educator with over 30 years’ experience in not-for-profit and for-profit healthcare organizations. She is honored to lead the mission and values culture development for Compass Senior Living in Eugene, Oregon. Jean lives in Las Vegas, Nevada where she enjoys the weather and volunteers with the Nevadans for the Common Good, advocating for caregivers and elders in southern Nevada


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