Can't Hear in Noisy Settings? Research Suggests Links to Dementia Risk

Can't Hear in Noisy Settings? Research Suggests Links to Dementia Risk

Difficulty hearing in noisy environments may indicate a risk of dementia, a commonly overlooked connection. A study involving more than 80,000 older adults indicated that those who have trouble hearing speech in noisy settings are at a heightened risk of dementia. This correlation, emphasized by epidemiologist Thomas Littlejohns from the University of Oxford, suggests hearing difficulties could serve as an early indicator of dementia.

The research, leveraging data from the UK Biobank, showed that participants with lower scores in Speech-In-Noise (SIN) testing had nearly twice the risk of developing dementia compared to those with better hearing. Notably, many participants did not report any hearing issues, highlighting the significance of regular hearing evaluations.

Hearing loss, an adjustable factor, was ranked as a primary modifiable risk factor for dementia in the Lancet report. Addressing hearing loss, particularly in midlife, may significantly reduce the risk of dementia, potentially up to five times.

Although the study reveals a connection, the causality between hearing loss and dementia is not definitive. Nevertheless, it adds to the growing evidence that managing pre-existing conditions like hearing impairment can reduce dementia risk. Dr. Katy Stubbs from Alzheimer's Research UK points out that difficulties in following conversations in noisy places, often a neglected aspect of dementia, may be more than just a symptom; it could be a treatable risk factor. This research highlights the importance of ear protection and hearing aids in potentially reducing the risk of dementia.

At Ottawa Hears Audiology, we provide top-quality audiological care with comprehensive hearing assessments, including advanced Speech-In-Noise testing, to ensure the best hearing health outcomes for our patients.

🌐 Online: For more information or to book an appointment, please visit Our user-friendly online form is designed for your convenience.

📞 Phone: Prefer speaking to a person? Call us at 343-800-5909. Our friendly team is ready to assist you and answer any queries you may have.

Note: No medical referral is required to see our knowledgeable, experienced, certified, and regulated Audiologist. Additionally, many of our services are eligible for partial or full coverage by insurance or third-party payers.


Littlejohns, T. J. (2021). Study on hearing impairment and dementia risk. University of Oxford.

Lancet. (2017). Lancet report on modifiable risk factors of dementia.

Lancet. (2020). Updated Lancet report including additional dementia risk factors.

Stubbs, K. (2023). Alzheimer’s Research UK commentary on the University of Oxford study.

UK Biobank. (2021). Research database for genetic, environmental, and health outcome links.

keywords: Doctor of Audiology, Hearing Loss, Tinnitus, Audiology, Audiologist, Hearing Aids, FM system, Cochlear Implants, Tinnitus, Ear Health, Deafness, Hearing Test, Sensorineural Hearing Loss, Conductive Hearing Loss, Mixed Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced Hearing Loss, Ear Infections, Hearing Loss Treatment, Hearing Loss Prevention, Audiologist Consultation, Hearing Loss in Seniors, Hearing Loss in Children, Assistive Listening Devices, Otology, Ear Anatomy, Hearing Rehabilitation, Hearing Loss Symptoms, Hearing Health, Ear Protection, Custom Earplugs, Ottawa Hears Audiology, Oticon, Phonak, Unitron, Widex, Signia, Resound, Starkey