Posted on Jan 08, 2024, 1 p.m.
Those who are experiencing hearing difficulty spend more energy on listening, and this comes at the expense of other cognitive functions. According to the new study published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery from the Department of Clinical Research at the University of Southern Denmark, there is a link between hearing loss and the development of dementia.
The researchers believe that this study involving data from 573,088 people may be the largest of its kind to date.
Cognitive functions are mental processes that help to enable us to think, remember, and solve problems among other things. These functions tend to decline with age, and those with cognitive impairment are at higher risk of developing dementia.
NIH estimates that 10-20% of those aged 65 or older with cognitive impairment develop dementia over a one-year period.
There is already an increase in the number of people with dementia which is mainly due to the aging population demographic shift as a whole, but there are also other risk factors such as lifestyle choices/habits and hearing. However, there is good news for hearing aid users.
"Previous studies have suggested that there could be a link between hearing loss and dementia. Our study is larger than the previous studies, and we have demonstrated a link between hearing loss and dementia, "says Assistant Professor Manuella Lech Cantuaria from the Department of Clinical Research at the University of Southern Denmark.
This study suggests that those affected by hearing loss have up to 13% increased risk of developing dementia compared to those with normal hearing, and this high risk is especially seen in those with severe hearing loss. The good news is that this risk may be offset by simply wearing hearing aids.
"We found that the risk of developing dementia was 20% higher for people who didn't wear hearing aids compared to people with normal hearing. People who used hearing aids had a 6% increased risk of developing dementia. This suggests that wearing a hearing aid can prevent or delay the development of dementia," explains Manuella Lech Cantuaria.
According to the researchers, there is a clear correlation between hearing loss and the development of dementia. Hearing loss causes a 7% increase in the risk of developing dementia, those with severe hearing loss are at increased risk, and the findings indicate that wearing hearing aids may help to prevent or delay developing dementia. This research is in line with other research supporting the use of hearing aids among those experiencing hearing loss.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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T.W. at WHN