Dr. Kimberly Mueller Discusses Hearing Loss and Dementia on WPR

Kimberly Mueller, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Kimberly Mueller, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Nathaniel Chin, MD, and Kimberly Mueller, PhD, CCC-SLP, joined Wisconsin Public Radio’s (WPR) Central Time to discuss the links between hearing loss and dementia.

On the show, host Rob Ferrett asked questions regarding the connections between hearing loss and a person’s risk for dementia. Though more research is needed, researchers have shown some links between the two traits.

“Hearing loss is actually thought to be one of the major potential risk factors in the development of dementia, when we look at an analysis of all of the data,” Chin said. “We can’t show yet that hearing loss is the exact cause but we can see from longitudinal, observational studies like the WRAP study that people with hearing loss later in life have a higher risk of developing dementia.”

Ferrett, Chin and Mueller also discussed how hearing aids and other hearing interventions can help improve a person’s overall quality of life and possibly reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

“There have been many studies to show just overall benefit by wearing hearing aids in later life,” Mueller said. “One of the main benefits is an improved quality of life and more socialization. Sometimes, when people have hearing loss, it’s a lot of work to go to a party, to a restaurant, and try to hear the conversation, and so sometimes people withdraw. But what we know is that hearing aids can increase socialization and better outcomes in terms of health-related quality of life and, in some studies, you see even reductions in self-reported pain after wearing a hearing aid for three months. It really can have a lot of benefits in terms of not only cognition, but quality of life.”

Homeless camping bans, Iowa caucus results, Hearing loss and dementia,” was published online by WPR on January 17, 2024.

Learn more

Hearing aids slow cognitive decline in people at high risk,” was published by the National Institute on Aging on September 14, 2023.

The above text was modified from the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center original article to highlight Dr. Mueller’s connections to the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, add links to departmental biographical pages, and use different images. View the original article here: https://www.adrc.wisc.edu/news/drs-nathaniel-chin-and-kimberly-mueller-discuss-hearing-loss-and-dementia-wpr