Online Hearing Test Schedule Appointment
Sebring, FL: (863) 385-3497

Hearing Blog

New research shows dementia link between your vision and hearing

June 19, 2024

Can Dementia be predicted?  A new study of 8623 healthy participants in the UK reveals that indeed it can be.  This is truly an awesome breakthrough.  A friend of mine & patient “Mike S.” Dropped this great article off for me at my office… great info… I will try to summarize and share…definitely worth the read.  THANKS MIKE!!

As we age there is an increased risk of developing dementia.  Next to cancer it is on the forefront of almost every seniors mind.  If you have read any of my articles you know that I have harped on the need for wearing hearing instruments if you need them.  Wearing hearing instruments that are appropriately fit for your hearing loss is a key component of warding off dementia and Alzheimer’s.   That’s right… I said;“appropriately fit.”   That means you can’t just wear something that amplifies 1/2 of speech spectrum and expect it to give the same benefits to the brain as an instrument that covers the entire speech spectrum. 

So.. that’s hearing information for now…  Let’s talk about this study and Vision changes and its’ relationship to Alzheimer’s.  Of the 8623 healthy participants in Norfolk, England… after 5 years…537 participants had developed dementia.  The study started off with the participants doing a visual sensitivity test.  This consisted of them looking at a screen full of moving dots and they were instructed to press a button when they saw a triangle in the dots.  Those who were very slow to find the triangle developed dementia. 

Researchers are studying the relationship between visual sensitivity changes and cognitive decline.   “Our vision centers of the brain can be effected by the amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease—and these areas are affected first…BEFORE…the parts of the brain related to memory.”  (Emma Suttie, THE EPOCH TIMES. May 29-June 4, 2024). 

So imagine this…. It may be possible that vision tests may predict brain changes early… possibly up to 12 years earlier than memory tests.  People can experience vision sensitivity changes so gradually that they do not even notice the changes.   A change in the ability to tell the difference in contrast such as an outline or some color spectrums; like the distinction between blue-green.   A recent study in Scientific reports says that loss in eye movements are also being researched.  Such as a person who has  the inability to ignore distracting stimuli. 

Many of us know that the inability to recognize faces may be an early indicator of Alzheimer’s.  Do you know why?  It has to do with the way our eyes process the information that they see.  Usually, when we meet someone our eyes scan the face of the other person with a very specific pattern.  Thus, our brain gets an imprint of the person to remember.  With cognitive changes; the vision and its’ relationship to the brain are altered.  

Any of these items may be present at the onset of dementia.  Research with vision is ongoing…as there are 6.9 million Americans affected by Alzheimer’s .

Back to Hearing… It is now very well known and recognized that hearing affects dementia and also how fast it progresses.  Hearing loss doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to develop dementia… Research shows that hearing loss may be the cause of it!  (2020 Lancet Commission report). 

Dr. Frank Lin, director of the Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health at the Bloomberg School;  shares: 1. “When Hearing is impaired, the brain works harder to hear, diverting resources from other areas of the brain—such as thinking and memory.”   2. “Hearing loss is also associated with reduced brain volume, causing the brain to shrink more rapidly.”

 A study at John Hopkins in 2023;  with  2413 people from a nationwide sampling, all over 65 years of age with hearing loss..showed “that dementia was 61 percent more prevalent in people with moderate to severe hearing loss that those with normal hearing.”  (Emma Suttie, EPOCH TIMES)

A huge study of 573,000 people and published in JAMA Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery in 2024 proves that those people who had hearing loss and DID NOT wear hearing aids were significantly more likely to develop the disease that those participants who did wear hearing aids.  This study suggests that wearing properly fitted hearing instruments may slow down or prevent this dreaded disease. 

Alzheimer’s disease is expected to surge from 55 million today to 78 million people worldwide affected by it in the year 2030.  Much research is underway as to the roles that our hearing and vision play in staving off and possible total elimination of this awful disease.

So get that vision test!  Get your hearing tested and corrected.  We can help you…call 385-3497 to schedule your test.  We are Highlands county’s oldest established Hearing Center (55 years) with three Hearing Health Care Providers to assist you and keep that brain in top notch working condition!!  We will listen to your needs and explain your test results and explain ALL of your options.  To Hear Better Is To Live Better!!


Video content here