Hearing Care – Dementia & Hearing Loss

The link between Dementia and hearing loss

Preventing dementia through correcting hearing: "Huge progress but more to do" -The Lancet 2023:

Two landmark studies appeared in the Lancet Public Health in 2023. In February 2023 a meta-analysis involving nearly 127000 participants then in April 2023 of a study into hearing loss and dementia which had almost 48000 participants.

The results showed that Individuals with mild uncorrected hearing loss were found to be up to twice as likely to develop dementia as those with normal hearing, while those with severe hearing loss had up to a fivefold increased risk.

People with hearing loss who used hearing aids had an 19% lower risk of cognitive decline and a 17% lower risk of dementia, compared with those with uncorrected hearing loss.

Considering these findings, and with dementia cases predicted to increase from todays UK figure of almost 1 million rising to 1.6 million by 2050, early intervention for hearing loss is becoming increasingly important. Hearing aids can significantly improve an individual's hearing abilities, potentially reducing the cognitive load associated with hearing impairment.

Hearing loss is a major modifiable risk factor for dementia

Earlier use of hearing devices may help maintain cognitive function and overall quality of life in older adults.

The underlying mechanisms linking hearing loss to dementia are complex and studies are continuing to explore this. This subconscious additional cognitive effort required to decipher sounds may divert cognitive sources away from other brain functions, potentially accelerating decline. Additionally, unintentional social isolation and reduced engagement in intellectual activities due to hearing impairment may contribute to cognitive decline.

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