Is There A Link Between Hearing Loss And Dementia?

Is There A Link Between Hearing Loss And Dementia?

Link between hearing loss and dementia

Research has identified a potential link between hearing loss and dementia. This article examines the findings on this topic, and discuss how preventing hearing loss may help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

How Common Is Hearing Loss And Dementia?

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that around 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss. This number is projected to increase to more than 700 million by 2050. In Singapore, experts estimate that 93% of people aged 60 and above have hearing loss of various degree. At the same time, the number of people living with dementia is also on the rise. Today, it is estimated that 55 million people are affected globally. In Singapore, about 10% of people aged 60 and above suffer from dementia.

The Relationship Between Hearing Loss And Dementia

Studies have suggested a possible connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline.

One theory is that hearing loss may lead to social isolation, which is in turn, a risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia.

Another theory is that hearing loss causes changes in the brain that affect cognitive function. The brain constantly adapts to sensory input. When our ability to hear is impaired, the brain may then need to work harder to process the sounds that are heard, such as speech. Over time, this increased cognitive load may end up causing cognitive decline.

Research has also shown that individuals with hearing loss may have accelerated reductions in brain volumes, particularly in areas associated with memory and cognitive function.

Preventing Hearing Loss To Reduce The Risk Of Cognitive Decline

Given the potential link between hearing loss and dementia, it is essential to take steps to protect our hearing. Here are some tips for preventing hearing loss:

Avoid exposure to loud noise. Loud noise can damage the delicate hair cells in the inner ear, leading to noise-induced hearing loss. If you work in a noisy environment or attend loud concerts or events, wear earplugs or other hearing protection.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Certain lifestyle factors, such as smoking and poor nutrition, may increase the risk of hearing loss. Eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and avoiding smoking may help protect your hearing.

Get regular hearing screenings. Regular hearing tests can help detect hearing loss early, making it easier to manage and treat.

Use hearing aids if needed. If you have hearing loss, using hearing aids can help improve your ability to communicate and may reduce the cognitive load on your brain.

While research to better understand the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline is on-going, available evidence suggests that protecting our hearing may be essential in reducing the risk of cognitive decline. By taking steps to prevent hearing loss, we can help protect our cognitive function as we age.

Where To Get A Hearing Test And Buy Hearing Aids In Singapore

There are a number of hearing centres in Singapore where you can a hearing test and purchase a set of hearing aids if needed. Here are some hearing centres in Singapore you can consider:

Further Reading That Might Interest You

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This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.