Hearing Loss and Dementia
What is dementia?
Dementia is a condition that reduces an individual's mental capacity and is significant enough to interfere with daily life. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which is the 6th major cause of death in the United States. Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease include memory loss, the inability to express one's own views, difficulties managing time and other mental conditions, like anxiety, paranoia, depression, frustration and anger.
As such, we should do everything we can to prevent dementia in our later lives. Experts suggest the usual prescriptions, such as eating a healthy diet and getting a lot of exercise, but did you know that treating your hearing could also have a positive effect on the brain?
the link between Hearing Loss and Dementia
Researcher Dr. Frank Lin and his peers recently conducted research monitoring 639 adults for almost 12 years. They found that medium loss led to three times the risk of dementia and those with severe hearing loss have five times the risk.
How might hearing loss lead to a higher likelihood of dementia? Although more research is still needed on the connection between the two conditions, Dr. Lin identifies three reasons that could have led to the increase in dementia risk: cognitive load, changes in brain structure and function, and reduced social engagement. Let’s explore each one in turn.
The Importance of treating hearing loss
A recent study in France found that hearing aids actually improve cognition for those with hearing loss. The researchers examined a selection of adults from 65 to 85 years with profound deafness in one ear. Each received a hearing aid to strengthen hearing in that ear and after one year, 86 % of participants reported an improvement in their cognitive skills. This shows that alongside an active social life and regular exercise, hearing loss can help slow cognitive decline in older adults.
At Grosse Point Audiology, we are committed helping you treat your hearing loss. While there is no remedy for dementia, hearing loss can be addressed and treated, and this can help foster a lifestyle that helps keep your cognitive abilities strong.