Study confirms the link between hearing loss and dementia in older adults

On World Hearing Day, the BIHIMA highlight an important new study into the link between hearing loss and the risk of dementia in older adults.

Conducted by Professor Helene Amieva in France, the study followed 3,777 participants aged over 65 for up to 25 years. Of these, 1,289 reported hearing problems and 2,290 reported no trouble. The researchers also looked at the impact of hearing loss on depression, disability and death.

The study found an increased risk of disability and dementia in those with hearing loss, and, in men only,  an increased risk of depression. These associations were not found in the participants using hearing aids.

Dr Clare Walton, Research Manager at Alzheimer’s Society, says:

'This study adds to a growing body of research suggesting that hearing loss is a risk factor for dementia.

'By following people over 65 with and without hearing problems for up to 25 years, researchers found that those with hearing problems were more likely to develop dementia.

'Although this type of study cannot tell us whether using hearing aids would help to bring the risk of dementia back down, it does hint that this might be the case – a finding that should be followed up with high priority.

'With the numbers of people developing dementia set to reach 1 million by 2021, it’s vital to explore all the links between dementia and other health conditions so we can look for new ways to delay or even prevent the condition. If you are worried about dementia, get in touch with one of our Helpline advisers or make an appointment with your GP.'

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