Hello-Can You Hear Me Now?
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can you hear me

One of the things that starts to go when people age is their hearing. What? No, not that joke! Listen, really, I’ve actually had to wear hearing aids for a decade now which is great but the bad news is that a new study found an association between hearing loss and dementia. This is true and worse, another large study involving sixteen thousand men and women found people who had early hearing loss between ages forty-five and sixty-five had double the risk for dementia in the next decade of life.

While most cases of dementia are linked to genetics, one-third are caused by other factors such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes and hearing loss. In the newest study, researchers followed about eight thousand patients with hearing loss and another eight thousand without. Neither group had people with dementia at the start of the study. After following them for a dozen years, people with hearing loss developed dementia at a rate of nineteen out of ten thousand people.

People with good hearing only had fourteen cases for every ten thousand people. That’s an increased risk of seventeen percent for people with hearing loss and over two hundred times higher for the youngest people with hearing loss.

The obvious reason is that losing our ability to communicate can isolate us which can handicap our emotional health and cognition. So, even though we live longer now, we also want to live well. As research continues, it’s important to keep asking our loved ones – can you hear me now??

For more information…

Middle-age hearing loss linked to dementia
Hearing loss in middle age is associated with higher odds of cognitive decline and dementia in later years, suggests a large study in Taiwan...

Can getting a hearing aid help prevent memory loss?
It really doesn't seem fair: Hearing loss, a troublesome fact of life for more than 48 million Americans, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America, may increase the risk of cognitive problems and even dementia. By the time Americans reach their 70s, two-thirds have hearing loss...