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
- 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.