Scientists have repeatedly pointed to a link between dementia and hearing loss. The studies have shown a positive effect of using hearing systems. One possibility is a cochlear implant.
All of us would like to have a long life. But of course, this includes aging, as well as other changes that come with it: less muscle strength, declining concentration, weaker eyesight and reduced hearing.
The link between age-related hearing loss and risk of dementia disease.
Every third old person suffers from age-related hearing loss. This includes around 300 million people worldwide. At the same time, over 50 million people older than 65 are diagnosed with dementia. Specialists discovered some connections and want to work on prevention and treatment options.
It´s not only the ear responsible for understanding speech, but also the adequate processing of signals in the auditory cortex, the hearing center of the cerebral cortex. Reduced cognitive abilities can also affect speech comprehension in everyday life.
The interaction of these two processes is not yet well established, but it appears that hearing loss is a risk factor for dementia. On the other hand, each person needs cognition in order to understand what he or she hears. In everyday life, people with hearing impairment have to perform additional mental effort in order to cognitively complete what they have not understood auditively. Therefore, cognitive impairment directly affects speech comprehension.
The possible consequences of increasing hearing problems that often happen due to the lack of communication, are in addition to the increased risk of dementia, social isolation and depression. Both are considered possible triggers for dementia. Furthermore, social engagement is thought to prevent dementia, for which good hearing could again play a role.
Overcome hearing loss with suitable hearing systems
One recent long-term study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, discovered that hearing loss is the largest preventable risk factor for various manifestations of dementia, accounting for 25 percent. Another study shows that subjects with mild hearing loss are 30 percent more likely to develop dementia than those with normal hearing. The worse the hearing loss, the bigger the risk for developing some form of dementia.
Researchers predict that if hearing loss could be entirely prevented, there would be significantly fewer dementia cases each year!
According to experts, hearing aids or cochlear implants could make an important contribution against Alzheimer’s and any other form of dementia, especially for patients with advanced hearing loss. They can be the reason for staying mentally fit longer and thus healthier, even at an older age.