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The link between hearing loss and dementia

Recent research has revealed the link between Dementia and hearing loss, finding that those people who suffer with hearing loss may have a higher risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Learn more from Rob Ormerod, head of audiology at Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists.

The decade-long study, published in the Lancet, found that compared with those with normal hearing, people with hearing loss not using hearing aids had a 42% higher risk of dementia. There was no increased risk in people who used hearing aids.

Rob Ormerod, Head of Audiology at Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists, provides his insights on the link between these two conditions and the steps people can take to reduce their likelihood of developing dementia.

“This new study really highlights the extreme impact that hearing loss can have on our cognition. While it’s common to suffer from some mild hearing loss as we age, many of us are suffering in silence with severe hearing loss and this can have a big impact in the long run, as this research demonstrates.

“While the link between Alzheimers and hearing loss are still being investigated more fully, the social isolating which hearing loss can bring results in a reduction in cognitive stimulation – which increases the risk factors for the disease. Hearing aids can have a positive impact on the early onset of dementia as the extra volume they provide creates extra stimulus in the brain.

“There are thankfully steps we can take to prevent the potential progression from hearing loss to dementia.”

Protection is better than cure

“Protecting your hearing is crucial to prevent any further damage. Limiting exposure to loud noises, wearing ear protection and avoiding excessive usage of headphones or earbuds at high volumes are all everyday practices we can implement to maintain the quality of our hearing as we get older.”

Seek support early on

“Always seek professional help as early as possible when you start noticing a difference in your hearing, so an audiologist can identify the cause of hearing loss and recommend the best solution.

“An audiologist can assess the cause of hearing loss, which could be something as straightforward as build up of wax, or something more long term. If a hearing aid is required, they are best fitted early on as when hearing loss has progressed, the amplification of sound can be uncomfortable and even ineffective.”

Embrace hearing technologies

“We sometimes see a real reluctance from clients to wear a hearing aid. But there are many options available on the market today, including invisible extended wear hearing aid solutions which we provide at Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists, which means enhancing your hearing is more simple and discreet than ever before.”

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