Some articles loose relevance over the years. Others retain their initial importance. This is one of them. Science Daily published an article in September 2011 about research on hearing loss and the brain. The researchers found a connection between hearing loss and the size and activity of auditory areas in the brain. Gray matter density was found to be lower in people with hearing loss. Researchers also found, via functional MRI, that brain activity in the auditory areas was less in people with hearing loss than in those without hearing loss when listening to complex sentences. This research suggests that even mild hearing loss may lead to brain atrophy and lower auditory processing ability.
We know that hearing aid use improves auditory function in those with hearing loss. Many professionals feel that use of hearing aids may also lead to actual physical reorganization of brain tissue. I am not aware of research that shows this specifically, but it seems likely in view of other research that has shown physical reorganization of auditory pathways in response to musical training. I have heard that Dr. Frank Lin at Johns Hopkins has a study currently underway in which he is looking at the utility of hearing aids to delay the onset of dementia. I am looking forward to what he may discover.