Is Tinnitus Linked to Dementia?

February 19, 2024
3 mins
Michael Piskosz
Dr. Fabrice Bardy
Tinnitus & Cognitive Decline


Tinnitus and dementia seem like an odd link at first. Tinnitus is the perception of a sound that nobody else can hear and dementia is a group of symptoms that affects cognitive functioning, including memory, communication, processing and problem-solving skills. 

The importance of protecting your ears to help mitigate tinnitus, hearing loss and cognitive impairment.

So how are tinnitus and dementia related?

Although there is some research suggesting a potential link between hearing loss and cognitive decline, the nature of the relationship between tinnitus and cognitive decline is not yet fully understood. 

One study published in 2011 found that people with tinnitus were more likely to have mild cognitive impairment or dementia than those without tinnitus. However, this study did not establish a causal relationship between the two conditions. A more recent study in 2021 showed that pre-existing tinnitus was associated with a 68% increased risk of developing early-onset dementia among adults. Other research has suggested that hearing loss, commonly associated with tinnitus, may be a risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia. It is widely recognized that the majority of people who have tinnitus, also struggle with some degree of hearing impairment.

What does this all mean? 

Let’s be clear, it certainly does not mean if you experience tinnitus you will get dementia, or experience cognitive decline. More research is needed to better understand this relationship. However, the results call for greater awareness of hearing protection usage and noise management to help prevent further hearing damage, which can lead to tinnitus. In addition, keeping social, active and living a healthy lifestyle can help manage tinnitus and also reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Overall, while there is some evidence to suggest a potential link between tinnitus and dementia, more research is needed to fully understand the nature of this association. If you are experiencing tinnitus or other hearing problems, it is important to seek the advice of a healthcare professional. Cognitive screenings have become more readily available and are quick and efficient ways to assess your cognitive function.

How MindEar can help you in your tinnitus journey

MindEar offers a range of scientifically-backed solutions that can help you manage your tinnitus symptoms effectively. In the MindEar app you will find a soundscape library offering a variety of adjustable soundscapes to help you find the sound sound therapy that works best for you. You can also talk to a tinnitus expert to help determine if a sound masker is right for you. In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness techniques are also accessible to provide you with the tools to take control of your condition so that you can live a life without noticing it. MindEar is here to guide you on that journey.

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