A study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore, USA, followed 600 adults for 12 years and found that mild hearing loss doubled the risk of dementia. Moderate hearing loss tripled someone's risk, and severe hearing loss increased the risk by five times.
Another study, published by The Lancet, found that people with untreated hearing loss have a higher chance of developing dementia, compared to those without hearing loss. Age-related hearing loss nearly doubles the risk of dementia, however the increased risk isn't seen in those with hearing loss who use hearing aids. It was found that utilising the power of hearing aids could ultimately reduce the risk of cognitive decline by around 48%.
Using hearing aids appears to have a positive impact, the study concluded, potentially reducing the risk of different types of dementia. If causality is established through more research, authors in the study wrote, ‘hearing aids will present a minimally invasive, cost-effective intervention to mitigate all, or at least some, of the effect of hearing loss on dementia.
According to Dolores Madden, Marketing Director and Audiologist at Hidden Hearing, hearing loss is now known to be a potentially preventable cause of dementia.
“Medical research is building the case that hearing loss is one of the biggest modifiable risk factors for dementia, and that wearing hearing aids, when needed, mitigates that risk. Other factors like high blood pressure and lower education can also be remedied through medication and lifestyle changes, from diet and exercise to engaging in mentally stimulating activities.”