Hearing Loss and Dementia

Research has shown that there is a link between untreated hearing loss and developing dementia later in life.

It is now known that there are several risk factors for dementia.  These include:

  • Low mental and social stimulation
  • Physical inactivity
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Poor diet
  • Genetic factors
  • Hearing loss

Research indicates that people with a mild hearing loss maybe twice as likely, and those with a severe loss five times as likely to develop dementia later in life.

Like all the above listed risk factors (except genetic factors) hearing loss is a modifiable risk factor.

That means that you can do something about it.

Options to manage hearing loss include:

  • Hearing Aids
  • Assistive listening devices
  • Implantable devices e.g. cochlear implant (CI), bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA)

 

Indicators you have a hearing loss:

  • You have to ask for repeats often
  • Family/friends notice you don’t hear them
  • You need to turn the TV up and/or have problems following dialogue especially with dramas/movies
  • You struggle to following conversation in groups or background noise
  • You start to withdraw from social settings because of being anxious/embarrassed when not able to hear people
  • You struggle to hear on the phone

What to do if you suspect you have a hearing loss?

First step is to make an appointment with an Audiologist for a Comprehensive Hearing Assessment.

This assessment will confirm the degree of the hearing loss and type of hearing loss, and whether further assessment by a medical doctor or an ENT specialist is required.