Untreated Hearing Loss May Lead to Dementia

A recent study by the U.S. National Institute on Aging showed a link between hearing loss and dementia. It found that patients older than 60 had a 35% higher risk of developing dementia if they suffered from hearing loss. The study, conducted over a four-year Hearing Havenperiod, monitored over 600 patients for signs of dementia. Data showed those with moderate to severe hearing loss developed degenerative cognitive disorders at a higher rate than others, concluding that for every additional loss of 10 decibels of hearing capacity, a patient’s risk for Alzheimer’s increased 20%.

While several theories for this correlation exist, more research is needed to find a definitive association. “Hearing loss might result from damage to nerve cells,” Dr. Richard B. Lipton says. “That means damage to the hearing organ and the hair cells that pick up the pattern of vibration the sound produces in the ear. And if there’s damage to the neurons that mediate hearing, that may be a kind of marker for similar damage to nerve cells involved in memory and higher cognition.” Lipton also believes the social isolation that often accompanies hearing loss may lead to less cognitive engagement, crucial in preventing dementia. This in turn may increase the risk for Alzheimer’s.

The bottom line is, dementia and Alzheimer’s have less to do with chronological age than previously believed. Researchers are focused instead on biological age and the overall health and lifestyle of those patients who exhibit early symptoms of cognitive decline.

Better Hearing for Life,

Bob Bare - Signature

 

 

 

Bob Bare, Founder
Hearing Haven

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