Hearing loss and dementia – How hearing loss can increase the risk

Author thumbnail Charlotte Jones  |  Published 30 April 2021  | Updated 16 May 2024  | 4 mins read

Each year the Alzheimer’s Society hosts Dementia Action Week, this year from 15-21 May, to increase people’s understanding and support of the condition. With dementia diagnosis rates beginning to stagnate, the Alzheimer’s Society wants to encourage people to act on dementia and highlight the benefits of early diagnosis.

Over 40,000 people under the age of 65 live with dementia in the UK, but with people’s support, that can be reduced.

There is a proven link between hearing loss and dementia, but this is something that can be addressed with the help of hearing aids. Here at The Hearing Care Partnership, we are joining the Alzheimer’s Society in spreading their message about dementia.

What is dementia?

Statistics show that about 1 in 14 of us in the UK over the age of 65 have a form of dementia [1], yet many of us are unaware of what it is or even what the symptoms are. Officially, dementia is a blanket term for all kinds of brain disorders which can cause symptoms such as memory loss, speech problems and difficulty processing thoughts. This is caused by nerves in the brain being damaged or an issue with brain chemistry. As you age, your chances of developing dementia increase. The fact that people are living a lot longer means we have a society where thousands of people are living with dementia, yet there is no increase in action taken against it.

A graphic of a human brain.

What are the links between hearing loss and dementia?

As we age, naturally our risks of both hearing loss and dementia increase and are in fact often linked to each other in several ways. 

The auditory cortex is the part of your brain which processes sound, and it needs to be kept active in order for you to hear well. Untreated hearing loss can cause auditory deprivation, which is when your auditory cortex can no longer process these sounds even if the frequencies are picked up. This not only affects your hearing permanently, but it also means that this part of your brain is less active – which in turn is a key cause of dementia.

There is strong evidence to suggest that even mild hearing loss doubles the risk of developing dementia, becoming up to five times as likely with a severe hearing loss. [2]

How can I make sure hearing loss doesn’t increase my risk of dementia?

If you have, or suspect you have, a hearing loss, one of the best things you can do (if you haven’t done so already) is to invest in hearing aids. 

Hearing aids not only keep your hearing at its best and your brain active, but they can prevent further auditory deprivation and better preserve the hearing you have. The more you hear, the more active your auditory cortex is – hearing aids are the best way to keep your hearing loss from interfering with your future health.

At The Hearing Care Partnership, we offer cutting-edge hearing aids from some of the world’s top hearing aid manufacturers such as Oticon and Starkey, all of which are available as part of our complete hearing care packages.  

Blue flowers.

Support the cause

If there is one message the Alzheimer’s Society wants to give this week, it’s that the cure for dementia can only happen when people take action. Whether you fundraise, or take part in their Dementia Friends programme, help them to create a community which both understands dementia and fights to find a cure.

 Book your appointment

If you’re worried about your hearing, or the hearing of a loved one, get in touch with us today on 0800 52 00 546 or book an appointment.

  1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia/about/
  2.  https://rnid.org.uk/hearing-research/hearing-loss-and-dementia-how-are-they-linked/