Addressing hearing loss can play a major role in preventing dementia, a new international study published in The Lancet has found. Mid-life hearing loss tops nine risk factors that contribute to the risk of dementia.
Others include failing to complete secondary education, smoking, failing to seek earl treatment for depression, physical inactivity and social isolation. Researchers say hearing loss can deny people a cognitively rich environment and lead to social isolation and depression, which are among the other potentially modifiable risk factors for dementia.
The Lancet study is the latest in a growing body of evidence that links hearing loss and cognitive decline. BSHAA Chief Executive Professor David Welbourn today repeated the Society’s call for people to look after their hearing, and to get a hearing test as an important step to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Lead author Professor Gill Livingston from University College London said: “Although dementia is diagnosed in later life, the brain changes usually begin to develop years before. Acting now will vastly improve life for people with dementia and their families and, in doing so, will transform the future of society.”