The Link between Dementia and Hearing Loss

We are in the midst of two campaigns that bring awareness to memory-related health issues. September was Dementia Awareness Month and November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. While these impairments can go hand-in-hand, they are two different health issues. Dementia is viewed as a “symptom,” for which there can be many different kinds of dementia diagnoses. Alzheimer’s is one such diagnosis that causes dementia.

Research has shown a link between dementia and hearing loss.

Several studies out of Johns Hopkins University and other prestigious institutions indicate that untreated hearing loss may be a risk factor for the development of dementia.

Studies have found:

  • Untreated hearing loss may be a risk factor for the development of dementia.
  • Patients with bilateral hearing loss are at higher risk for dementia than those without hearing loss.
  • The risk of dementia increases with the severity of hearing loss.
  • Hearing aid use reduces the risk of dementia

What to do:

  • Get tested. Everyone should have a baseline hearing test upon turning 50 years old and if any changes in hearing occur.
  • Take action. Don’t let your hearing loss cause other difficulties for you.
  • Wear your devices. It’s the best thing you can do. This will help to take the stress away from your brain, improve memory, and make you feel less fatigued at the end of the day.

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