Johns Hopkins’ Researchers Discover Shocking Link Between Hearing Loss and Dementia

By BRIAN FIELD, Doctor of Audiology • August 16, 2021

In a study that tracked 639 adults for nearly 12 years, Johns Hopkins expert Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D, and his colleagues found that:

  • Mild hearing loss doubled dementia risk.
  • Moderate hearing loss tripled risk of dementia.
  • Severe hearing loss increased risk of dementia by 500%.

“Brain scans show us that hearing loss may contribute to a faster rate of atrophy in the brain,” Lin says.

“Hearing loss also contributes to social isolation. You may not want to be with people as much, and when you are you may not engage in conversation as much. These factors may contribute to dementia.”

“My hearing’s not that bad.”

Hearing aid users wait, on average, 10 years before getting help for hearing loss. But during that time, communication with loved ones becomes more difficult, and isolation and health risks increase.

“Our findings emphasized just how important it is to be proactive in addressing any hearing declines over time,” says Lin.

There is No Risk to Having Your Hearing Checked

Hearing tests are easy, painless, and free of charge. Getting a hearing test now will allow you to establish a baseline and monitor your hearing health over time. If you do have hearing loss, it will allow you to treat the problem before it gets worse.


Brian Field
Doctor of Audiology,
Au.D., M.Cl.Sc., BSc

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