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Hearing loss tied to cognitive decline
Posted: Sunday, April 8, 2018 3:10 PM
Joined: 7/17/2017
Posts: 342

The below is very interesting for me. While watching TV, often times I can easily hear it, but have a hard time understanding it, sounds muffled to me. According to the below article, I have central hearing loss, which can be tied in with my MCI. I see a new Neurologist tomorrow, so I will ask him about this.

 “Some people with a certain type of hearing loss may be more likely to also have the memory loss and thinking problems called mild cognitive impairment, according to a preliminary study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 70th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, April 21 to 27, 2018. Hearing loss is one of the most common disabilities in elderly people, affecting about one-third of people over age 65.

The study looked at people with peripheral age-related hearing loss, which is caused by problems in how the inner ear and hearing nerves function and leads to people not being able to hear. It also looked at central age-related hearing loss, which is caused by problems in the brain’s ability to process sound and leads people to say, “I can hear, but I can’t understand.”

The study involved 1,604 participants of the Great Age Study, a population-based study conducted in the south of Italy, with an average age of 75, whose hearing and thinking and memory skills were tested. Of the participants, 26 percent had peripheral hearing loss and 12 percent had central hearing loss, 33 percent were diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment.

Researchers found that people with central hearing loss were twice as likely to have mild cognitive impairment as people who had no hearing loss. Of the 192 people with central hearing loss, 144 people, or 75 percent, had mild cognitive impairment. Of the 609 with no hearing loss, 365 people, or 60 percent, had mild cognitive impairment. In contrast, people with peripheral hearing loss were no more likely to have mild cognitive impairment than people with no hearing problems.

“These preliminary results suggest that central hearing loss may share the same progressive loss of functioning in brain cells that occurs in cognitive decline, rather than the sensory deprivation that happens with peripheral hearing loss,” said study author Rodolfo Sardone AuD, EngD, MPh, at the National Institute of Health and University of Bari in Italy. “It’s a problem with perception. Tests of hearing perception should be given to people who are older than 65 and also to people with cognitive impairment.”

The researchers also found that people who had lower scores on a test that measured how well they understood speech also had lower scores on a test of thinking and memory skills.

Sardone noted that the study does not prove that hearing problems cause memory loss; it only shows an association between the two.”

Posted: Monday, April 9, 2018 6:45 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408

Thanks for sharing this important information Andrew. My vision is impacted but sometimes I forget how everything else can be impacted by the impaired brain also. Nevertheless, I would follow up with hearing test and exam in case it is something that can be remedied.
Posted: Monday, April 9, 2018 6:14 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608


One of my recognizable first symptoms was hearing loss. There was no damage to anything, the hearing loss has become more profound and being away from my home it is evident I don't hear much and what I do hear is often misunderstood.

It took years to figure out I had lost peripheral vision too.

One thingit seems as if words are going by, a train of words, and I can not "hear" the words that have gone by faster than a normal person hears. I am listening to what they said 5 seconds before. Same with vision, playing whiffle ball with grand kids - they hit the ball and my eyes could not track it at the speed it traveled, however I improved and by end of 4 days of playing I could catch and hit and pitch ok!

I have closed captioning here and am able to read it pretty well.

Hope people can accommodate some of the losses.  It is worth trying alternative ways. When I  walked with my grandkids recently I did not hear cars coming, they did. My ex's dog picked up on it right way and stops if a car is coming when I walk her and no one trained her to do that!

Posted: Friday, July 13, 2018 10:52 AM
Joined: 7/17/2017
Posts: 342

I finally had my audio testing yesterday. My last testing was 15 years ago, and there has been a significant loss, but not quite yet where I need hearing aids. I did not know the standard testing does not test for central hearing loss, which was talked about in the article I posted.

I put in a request for the more  advanced testing to check my central hearing problems. I still at times have difficulty understanding the words I hear on TV or in crowded rooms, even though I here the volume with no problems.

Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Friday, July 13, 2018 11:34 AM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 3750

I have always had hearing difficulties since I had the dementia. I past the hearing test with flying colors. Its not that I can not hear but its that my brain can not process the information. When I hear it much louder it seems to help. 

Posted: Friday, July 13, 2018 1:18 PM
Joined: 7/17/2017
Posts: 342

Yes Michael, I know what you mean. When the words are not connecting, I turn up the TV volume, drives my wife nuts, and the dog does not like it since his bed is under our TV in the bedroom.

Until I get the results from my soon to be advanced hearing test, could you all please type a little louder......

Posted: Saturday, July 14, 2018 6:21 AM
Joined: 12/14/2017
Posts: 1727

I was also told...what makes sense from an ear specialist with another elderly lady I cared for..that because they can't hear well...they withdraw....

I totally saw this at Bingo...I would go to Bingo with her and all of us ladies would be chatting and she would be silent....because she could NOT participate in the conversation she shut down.

When the hearing goes..I was also taught by this Dr. that some voices (mens) are easier to understand for them than a womans voice..the tones have a lot to do with it ..which made sense that my boyfriend she heard perfect even without yelling...but ME she never heard and I always had to yell....I thought it was just ME but it is the womans tone that is more difficult to hear than the mans.

So to get stuff across to the hard of to have a man around was my summation.

Not only hearing adds to cognitive decline but vision does as well...which is why I got my Dad in for his Catract surgery before he was too far into see if it helped him with feeling more in "control" of his environment...when you cant see or hear...there has to be some feeling of giving up....and I won't let that happen on my watch.

Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Saturday, July 14, 2018 6:57 AM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 3750

I don’t know about women Vs men as I cannot remember. But my eyes are always playing tricks on me and I am almost 20/20 vision with my glasses. That is also about processing. I just wonder if that happens to all of us but because others who don’t have dementia are just able to filter that out and it never registers as an issue to them. I think it has to do with our filtering again. That seems to be common with most of the issues. 

Posted: Saturday, July 14, 2018 9:24 AM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608

the brain "fills in the blanks" with whatever seems a good match, for me both in vision and hearing.

some people think they are having hallucinations but visual field may have blank spots and the brain's photoshop department fills it in with old visual memories of similar.

when my optometrist had me look at a checkered image on a light screen the left eye had big patches of plain white background, then they found I had lost peripheral vision. That finally led to  my diagnosis.

12 years ago my hearing was a problem and during audio test where a beep sound is made and you press a button if you can hear it, my pressing the button was delayed. I thought I was doing it on purpose, then got agitated because I could not do it quicker. Who knew?


I took Gabapentin last night and find myself out of bed and able to do some stuff. I forgot the Gaba 100 mg restores a lot of energy function.

Posted: Saturday, July 14, 2018 10:34 AM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 19848

Hmmmm.....different kinds of hearing loss.
Andrew, you (your wife and dog also) might benefit from bluetooth  headphones for the TV.