Study says hearing loss in old-age ups risk of dementia


WASHINGTON: You may need to take care of your aging parents as a study has recently warned that age-related hearing loss may be a risk factor for cognitive decline, impairment and dementia. Age-related hearing loss is common.
Researchers wanted to find the link between age-related hearing loss, cognitive decline and dementia. Understanding any possible association between hearing loss and cognitive decline could help with strategies to prevent cognitive decline and dementia with use of hearing assist devices.
The team conducted the study on 20,264 participants in 36 studies. Study authors David G. Loughrey, B.A. (Hons), Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and co-authors. The results indicated that there was a small association between age-related hearing loss and increased risk for cognitive decline (such as in executive function, episodic memory and processing speed), cognitive impairment and dementia. It is estimated two-thirds of the over 65s suffer hearing loss and previous studies have shown ARHL precedes the onset of dementia by five to 10 years. Experts have suggested the lack of mental stimulation experienced by those who are hard of hearing may play a role in declined cognitive function. Currently there is no cure for dementia but new drugs can slow down its progression and the earlier it is spotted the more effective treatments are.