MedicalResearch: Is there a link between hearing loss and the risk of developing dementia?
Response: In the last few years, we have
investigated the link between hearing loss and dementia in large studies
of older adults who have been followed for many years. In these
studies, we and others have found that those with greater hearing loss
have a higher risk of developing dementia even after we account for
factors like age, education, medical comorbidities, etc. We think this
is because there are some pathways through which hearing loss can
directly affect our thinking and memory abilities
MedicalResearch.com: Is there an association between hearing loss and cognitive decline or premature death?
Response: There is a link between hearing
loss and accelerated cognitive decline. There is also external research
that links hearing loss and premature death (Friburg 2014, Contrera
2015). Hearing loss can also increase a person’s chance of using medical
and social services
MedicalResearch.com: How is hearing loss linked to increased social isolation and depression in the elderly?
Response: Older people with hearing loss
are at a greater risk of social isolation due to their difficulty
communicating with people. These individuals may be less likely to go
out, particularly to settings where listening can be difficult (e.g.,
restaurants), and even if they do go out, they may feel isolated from
the conversation and not able to engage with others.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Readers should understand that
we’re increasingly understanding that hearing loss can detrimentally
impact our thinking and memory abilities, risk of dementia, and our
ability to remain engaged with others. Ongoing research is now studying
to what extent our current hearing loss therapies can reduce and
mitigate these risks and promote healthy aging.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: Readers should know that hearing
loss is a growing public health issue. It has been estimated that by
2050 1.2 billion people will suffer from hearing loss, underscoring the
need for us to address it and recognize the burden of hearing loss on
wider health. To learn more visit,www.linresearch.org and
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.