There are a number of studies that associate an increased risk of deafness to sleep apnea, and an increased rate of dementia with sleep apnea, so why can’t deafness and dementia be linked, with sleep apnea being the main cause for both conditions? A study that was recently published in Neurology showed that for every 10 dBL hearing loss, after 12 years, the risk of dementia from all causes rose 27%. I’ve written numerous times about how sleep apnea can cause damage to the auditory cortex areas of the brain, as well as to the inner ear. The same process from sleep apnea that causes brain damage can injure areas that control memory, executive function, autonomic function, and hearing.
The next time someone you love can’t seem to hear you, it could be because he or she can’t process your words properly? Do you know someone who’s severely hard of hearing, and has possible dementia?