The presence of hearing loss could predict dementia.
Hearing loss is common with age.
Some people have more pronounced loss due to genetics or environmental factors.
Certain viruses and lifestyle choices can contribute to the speed and intensity of hearing loss.
According to a recent MedPage Today article titled “Dementia Tied to Hearing Loss,” recent research has found a correlation between hearing loss and dementia.
The National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) involved data from approximately 2,400 senior adults.
Nicholas Reed AuD from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and his colleagues conducted the research using in-home interviews and the information from the NHATS panel study of Medicare beneficiaries.
Mild hearing loss was present in 36.74 percent of the participants.
Moderate hearing impairment was present in 29.79 percent of the individuals.
Normal auditory function was recorded in 33.47 percent of the participants.
The overall weighted prevalence of dementia was 10.27 percent.
According to researchers the presence of dementia increased with the severity of the hearing loss.
Those without hearing loss only had a dementia prevalence of 6.19 percent.
Those with mild hearing impairment had a prevalence of 8.93 percent while those with moderate-to-severe hearing loss showed a prevalence of 16.52 percent.
Participants who were older white males with less education were more likely to have moderate-to-severe hearing impairment.
What does this mean?
The results seem to affirm the benefits of hearing aids.
Of participants who had moderate-to-severe hearing loss, the use of hearing aids was found to reduced the likelihood and presence of dementia.
By treating hearing impairment, through even simple over-the-counter hearing aids, we may be able to reduce our risk of developing dementia in old age.
I can confirm, from personal experience, that quality hearing aids exponentially improve quality of life, too.
Reference: MedPage Today (Jan. 10, 2023) “Dementia Tied to Hearing Loss”