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Hearing loss heightens dementia risk, study reveals

January 8, 2024 6:05 PM IST

hearing loss | dementia

Individuals with hearing loss face a heightened risk, up to 13%, of developing dementia compared to those with normal hearing. Researchers from the Department of Clinical Research at the University of Southern Denmark uncovered a significant link between hearing loss and the onset of dementia, in a recent study involving data from 573,088 individuals. This study stands as the largest of its kind till date.

The research indicates that individuals with hearing impairments expend more energy when listening, negatively impacting other cognitive functions. Cognitive functions encompass various brain processes involved in thinking and problem-solving.

While the increase in dementia cases is primarily attributed to the aging population, factors such as lifestyle choices and hearing health also contribute significantly.

Assistant Professor Manuella Lech Cantuaria, from the Department of Clinical Research at the University of Southern Denmark, highlighted that past studies hinted at a potential connection between hearing loss and dementia, but this study, due to its extensive scale, establishes a clear link between the two. “Our study, being more extensive, establishes a clear link between hearing loss and dementia,” stated Cantuaria.

The study’s findings revealed that the risk is particularly notable among individuals with severe hearing loss.

Moreover, researchers delved into whether the use of hearing aids made a difference in dementia risk. Cantuaria explained, “We observed that individuals who didn’t use hearing aids had a 20% higher risk of developing dementia compared to those with normal hearing. Conversely, those who used hearing aids exhibited a 6% increased risk.” This suggests that wearing a hearing aid might either prevent or delay the onset of dementia.

(Inputs from ANI)

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