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Even subtle hearing loss can alter the brain function of young adults


In 2018, assistant professor Yune Lee and his research team at Ohio State University monitored the brain activity of study participants 18 through 41 years of age as they listened to increasingly complex sentences. The team was hoping to measure if human brains work harder to comprehend more complex messages.

What they unexpectedly discovered, instead, was that the young adults with subtle hearing loss (everyone’s hearing was tested before the monitoring took place) were altering their brain function in ways typically only seen in older adults. As a result, they could be paving the way for dementia.

With increasing evidence linking hearing loss to dementia, Lee voiced the quote in today’s Hearing Fact Friday — recommending young people test their hearing regularly, to stay out front of any hearing loss and treat it early, if hearing loss is discovered.

As the calendar flips to a new year, Mr. Lee’s advice is a good reminder to adults of every age to add hearing screenings to their annual health and wellness “to-do list” and be proactive about their hearing health.