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Hearing Loss Could Be Linked To Dementia, Reveals Study

A study conducted by Irish researchers at Trinity College Dublin reveals that there could be a link between age-related hearing loss and dementia

Hearing Loss Could Be Linked To Dementia, Reveals Study

A recent study has shown that hearing loss could minutely be linked with dementia

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. The studies didnt show any relation between hearing loss and Alzheimers
  2. Dementia could be prevented if people use hearing aids
  3. Hearing loss is a modifiable risk factor for cognitive decline

As it turns out, you need to be even more careful about your aged parents/grandparents. A recent study has revealed that hearing loss which is related to age, can lead to cognitive decline, impairment and even dementia. The study was conducted by Irish researchers at Trinity College Dublin as a result of finding the link between age-related hearing loss and cognitive decline and dementia. But the experts are still to give a final word if the two are actually linked with each other or not.

The research states that around 1/3rd adults who are above the age of 65, experience hearing loss, and this hearing loss is often preceded with dementia by about 5-10 years.

The team of researchers, which was led by David Loughrey, reviewed data collected from 36 studies which are conducted on more than 20,000 people from across the world. The researchers happened to have found a small connection between age-related hearing loss and increased risk of mental problems like dementia.

"The associations, although small, were comparable in size and significance with other more commonly researched risk factors" for dementia, said one of the authors of the study. Of the 36 studies, the one which were most prospective said that hearing loss was tied to a 22 percent higher odds for cognitive (mental) impairment and a 28 percent higher risk for any kind of dementia.

However, the studies didn't show any relation between hearing loss and Alzheimer's disease in particular, according to Loughrey's group.

But if hearing loss is tied to dementia, that doesn't mean aging adults are helpless to prevent either condition, one geriatrician said.

"It does appear that hearing loss is a modifiable risk factor for cognitive decline as we get older - this is good news for older adults because hearing loss can be diagnosed easily and treated successfully when using proper hearing aids," noted Dr. Gisele Wolf-Klein, director, geriatric education, Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y.

Dr. Ian Storper, director of otology at the Center for Hearing and Balance Disorders at the New York Head and Neck Institute, part of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, reviewed the findings and stressed on the fact that the study couldn't prove that diminished hearing helps cause dementia. And thus, older Americans, who are facing age-related hearing difficulties shouldn't find a reason to panic.

He further added that the studies aren't indicative that hearing loss is the only risk factor for dementia. He said that all the linkages of hearing loss could be prevented by using hearing aids which can help one hear better.

All the above-mentioned findings were published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
 

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