We're continuing our coverage on Deaf Awareness and Healthy Aging, by taking a deep dive into a better understanding of hearing loss and how it can accelerate symptoms of dementia.
By the year 2050, the number of people with dementia is predicted to increase from 50 to 150 million across the globe. There is currently no cure for this condition, but research has shown that it is possible to lower your risk through lifestyle changes. For example, exercise regularly, refrain from smoking and consuming too much alcohol, or seek help for health problems like diabetes and hypertension.
If you have hearing loss, it must be treated as it can lead to dementia. An article that was recently published in the Alzheimer’s Association Journal, confirmed this fact.
The article highlighted a common experience among individuals with hearing loss: the inability to hear speech sounds when there is too much background noise.
Finding the Origin of Dementia
There are a number of possibilities as to why hearing loss and dementia are associated with each other. People who have difficulty with hearing tend to socially isolate themselves, which leads to depression. The lack of socialization and a high rate of depression may lead to dementia.
There’s a possibility that dementia actually causes hearing loss. Dementia tends to develop long before a person receives a diagnosis. It usually manifests prior to obvious symptoms, such as problems with memory and other cognitive functions that become noticeable.
Current findings have shown that the diagnosis of dementia that occurs nine to 11 years after a hearing test, “insufficient and poor speech-in-noise hearing” was linked to a 54% and 85% increase of dementia.
This research adds to other evidence that treating hearing loss is helpful in the prevention or delay of dementia. It has been believed that if hearing problems are the origin of dementia, treating this may prevent 8% of dementia cases where patients do not show discernible symptoms.
Please be aware that there is ongoing research about this subject.
If you or a loved one are experiencing hearing loss - whether it’s mild, moderate, or severe - please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a hearing test and consultation.