Hearing loss accelerates brain function decline in older adults

Older adults with hearing loss experience problems with thinking and remembering sooner than those with normal hearing

A new study by hearing experts at Johns Hopkins has found that older adults with hearing loss are more likely to develop problems thinking and remembering than those with normal hearing, according to a report from Johns Hopkins Medicine.

For the study, reported in the JAMA Internal Medicine online Jan. 21, researchers tested volunteers with hearing loss over a six-year period and found that their cognitive abilities declined 30 percent to 40 percent faster than older adults whose hearing was normal. They also found that the levels of declining brain function were directly related to the amount of hearing loss.

"Our results show that hearing loss should not be considered an inconsequential part of aging because it may come with some serious long-term consequences to healthy brain functioning," says [senior study investigator Frank] Lin, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the university's Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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