Hearing loss appears to be linked to cognitive decline in older adults, according to new research.
The study, conducted by researchers from The Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health, Baltimore, analyzed hearing and cognition patterns for 1,984 older adults, with an average age of 77. The survey began in 1997-1998.
Those with hearing loss suffered cognitive decline at a rate of up to 41 percent higher than those who didn’t have hearing loss, the researchers found. The analysis of cognitive decline focused on “executive function” – a group of cognitive processes that includes memory and attention.
The authors also indicated that the process of cognitive decline would take place more quickly in those with hearing loss, as opposed to those without it – 7.7 years and 10.9 years, respectively.
The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Further studies are needed, the authors said, to determine whether treatment of hearing loss could lessen the cognitive decline.