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Johns Hopkins Medicine released a study concerning the effects of hearing loss on the brain.  It states that the shrinkage of the brain associated with aging is accelerated in older adults with hearing loss.  The findings add to a growing list of health concerns already associated with hearing loss such as dementia, hospitalizations and reduced physical and mental health as a whole.

Analysis of their sample showed that participants who already had hearing loss, saw an accelerated rate of atrophy of the brain compared to those who had normal hearing.  The study suggests that those with hearing loss saw increased shrinkage of the brain by an additional cubic centimeter as each year of the loss went on.  This shrinkage was primarily in the superior, middle and inferior temporal gyri, a brain structure responsible for processing sound and speech.  These areas also engage in roles concerning memory and sensory integration which has been shown to be involved in cognitive impairment as well as Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Frank Lin, the primary author, says, “If you want to address hearing loss well… do it sooner rather than later.  If hearing loss is potentially contributing to these differences we’re seeing on MRI, you want to treat it before these brain structural changes take place.”

To read the full study Click Here.