Over the last few years, studies have established a relationship between untreated hearing loss and dementia in older adults. New medical research presented by Dr. Frank Link at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting has found that hearing loss actually contributes to dementia and mental decline.
Lin estimated that as much as 36 percent of dementia risk can be attributed to hearing loss, and his 2013 study suggests that hearing loss is linked to 30-40 percent greater risk of cognitive decline in people with hearing loss versus those without.
Furthermore, in 2011, another study on dementia found that “the worse the initial hearing loss was, the more likely the person was to develop dementia. Compared with people of normal hearing, those with moderate hearing loss had triple the risk.”
The good news? Hearing aids can help!
A recent study by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) found a direct correlation between improved cognitive function and hearing aid use in older adults with hearing loss. “Our study suggests that using a hearing aid may offer a simple, yet important, way to prevent or slow the development of dementia by keeping adults with hearing loss engaged in conversation and communication,” said Dr. Anil K. Lalwani, M.D., professor at CUMC.
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