Hearing Loss and Dementia
Dementia affects over 55 million people worldwide, with almost 10 million new cases reported every year. What many don’t know is that there’s a clear link between hearing loss and dementia.
Learn About the Importance of Good Hearing for Brain Function
In a study of 639 adults conducted over 12 years by a team of experts at John Hopkins University, researchers found that even mild untreated hearing loss doubles the risk of dementia. The link between deafness and dementia deepens as hearing loss becomes worse, especially if left untreated Those with moderate hearing loss face three times the risk of developing dementia, while those with severe hearing loss are five times more likely to develop the condition.
Why does this happen?
According to Dr. Frank Lin of John Hopkins University, “Brain scans show us that the effect of hearing loss may contribute to a faster rate of atrophy in the brain.” Dr. Lin’s team of researchers points out that hearing loss limits a person’s ability to converse and may result in social isolation, which are factors that may contribute to dementia.
Dr. Lin goes on to highlight that the brain of a hearing-impaired person has to work much harder to pick up on the subtle signals that aid in balance and brain development. This leads to subconscious multitasking that affects everything from brain development to the ability to walk safely.
The science is clear – there is a established link between hearing loss and dementia. If you experience hearing loss, your risk of developing dementia increases enormously. Though this is unfortunate news, understanding the link between deafness and dementia means you’re in a position to do something about it.
Impairment and Dementia: What You Can Do
Thankfully, there are several steps you can take to decrease the risk of developing dementia if you experience hearing loss:
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