Researchers have three main theories about why there is a link between hearing loss and dementia. The first is social isolation, notable because isolation has already been proven to be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Studies by John Cacioppo, a professor at the University of Chicago, on the effect of isolation on health have shown that “perceived isolation” may have a greater effect than actual objective isolation on your health.
The second is cognitive load: The effect of your brain trying to understand and translate sounds may deplete brain power needed elsewhere, such as for memory.
Third, there ay be a pathological link between hearing loss and dementia, a genetic or enviromental factor that leads to both conditions.
The hope is that treated hearing loss-which can help decrease isolation as well as cognitive load-may help prevent cognitive decline.