Hearing loss increases dementia risk, but using hearing aids reduces that risk.

Do you have trouble hearing conversations? You’re not alone if that’s the case. People ages 80 and older tend to have moderate to severe hearing loss, even though most have mild hearing loss.

Not only are moderate to severe hearing losses disruptive to one’s life, but they also increase the risk of dementia. Why – and what to do about it – is explained in this study.

The new study examined and found what?

JAMA published a study that examined Medicare beneficiaries in the United States from the National Health and Aging Trends Study. Over 70 participants were sampled.

Defend yourself against chronic inflammation.

Science has proven that chronic, low-grade inflammation contributes to cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases. About 33% of participants had normal hearing, 37% had mild hearing loss, and 30% had moderate to severe hearing loss. Dementia occurs less frequently among those with normal hearing (6%), more often among those with mild hearing loss (9%), and most often among those with moderate to severe hearing loss (17%). That’s a large increase in risk, especially for those with moderate to severe hearing loss.

This study has more to offer

In order to analyze subgroups by age and apply findings to a diverse population, the study sample was selected. There were also additional participants who were 90 years and older, as well as additional participants who identified as Black. The total number of 2,413 participants was 53% older than 80 years, 56% female, 19% non-Hispanic Black, 4.5% Hispanic, and 74% non-Hispanic white.

Furthermore, this study examined hearing loss and dementia objectively, unlike previous studies. Hearing loss is thought to account for about 8% of all dementia cases worldwide, according to prior research. There is no clear explanation for why the connection exists. This link has been found in most large studies based on questionnaires filled out by individuals. Those taking part in the study did not have their hearing measured to ensure that they did not have hearing loss or that their hearing was normal.

In this new study, investigators used an electronic tablet-based audiometer to evaluate participants’ hearing for four pure tone frequencies that are most critical for understanding speech. For the first time in a large study, hearing loss was objectively measured.

Hearing aids reduce dementia risk in what ways?

Are you more likely to develop dementia if you have hearing loss? Not at all. In people with moderate to severe hearing loss, hearing aids can significantly reduce dementia risk.

We now have a better understanding of why hearing loss leads to dementia thanks to this research. Here’s how it works:

Small strokes don’t exist…

The experts at Harvard Medical School will discuss how to recognise the early signs of a stroke, what to do to get rapid, brain-saving treatment, and how to understand your odds for having a stroke.

Small strokes don’t exist…

Dementia is less likely to develop when the brain is stimulated. Hearing loss reduces auditory stimulation. By itself, this increases dementia risk. Moreover, people with moderate to severe hearing loss are less likely to participate in social activities. Their hearing loss may embarrass them. They may also find it unrewarding to attend a social event when they can’t hear what’s going on.

Social activities are one of the most effective ways to stimulate the brain, since our brains evolved to facilitate social behavior. As a result of all this information, it shouldn’t be a surprise that reduced social activity has been linked to cognitive decline. The new study confirms that hearing loss increases dementia risk because it reduces brain stimulation both directly and indirectly through decreased social interaction.

What to do if you have hearing loss

Hearing loss does not cause dementia.

  • Keep your ears clean. Ask your doctor if you’re not sure how to clean your ears. You should never put anything smaller than your elbow in them.

  • If you cannot hear and do not have hearing aids, get some. Over-the-counter hearing aids are now available for many people who have mild to moderate hearing loss.

  • Wear hearing aids if you have them.

  • Make sure your hearing aids are working properly by getting them repaired.

  • Become more active in your social life and other activities instead of remaining passive.

You will be less likely to develop dementia if you do all these things. Despite some hearing loss, you might find yourself enjoying life more.