How Hearing Loss can Lead to Brain Atrophy

Researchers have indeed found a link between hearing loss and brain atrophy, which is basically the brain’s tendency to shrink over time. We now know that the health of your brain is connected to your ability to hear, and hear well. When you protect your hearing as you get older, you are doing all you can to reverse or stop brain atrophy. Maintaining a healthy level of hearing produces many benefits, but thanks to a recent study, the evidence speaks for itself. Here we give you vital information about methods you can take to conserve your hearing and boost your brain’s ability.

Hearing and the Brain: How They Work Together

A 20-year study by Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute on Aging explored how hearing loss and the brain work together. This involved providing annual MRIs and physicals on 126 people. Researchers noted that there was a connection linking hearing loss and the size of the brain. This is something the medical community has always assumed to be true. Shrinkage of the brain does indeed happen as we age, leading to lowered mental capacity and even dementia as a result.

As the condition of the patients’ brains became known, researchers found more and more evidence connecting hearing loss and brain shrinkage as the participants aged over the 20-year span. A smaller brain size was found in those who had suffered hearing damage more quickly than those with no hearing damage. Thus, if you have hearing loss, you’re at a larger risk for brain atrophy, which can result in dementia. Cognitive disorders can also come about.

Why does this happen? When the brain suffers damage, it compensates that through additional gray matter damage, manifesting itself in decreased brain sizes. Researchers warn everyone to take good care of their hearing over the years to prevent this from happening, or at least lessen its effects.

What to Do

As part of the conclusion of the study, researchers used this forum to remind individuals how important it is to protect their hearing. One way you can lessen brain atrophy due to hearing loss is to consult with your doctor every year so he can spot problems early on. This should occur no matter your age. The sooner you address a hearing problem, the better chance you will have at lessening impending brain shrinkage. Head to the doctor’s at the first sign of hearing trouble so that your particular hearing impairment may be reversed or treated. Even those who already have hearing loss of some kind can step up their efforts to protect their hearing health.