Hearing Loss and the Brain: Updated Research 2020
In 2017, due to the worldwide growing ageing population, the Lancet reported their findings on their Dementia Commission report on risk factors and rehabilitation options. Their results for Dementia risk factors include obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, and high blood pressure, to name a few. Of note to the hearing community, was that hearing loss was identified as the highest modifiable risk factor.
In August 2020, the Lancet updated its Dementia Commission report, which added additional risk factors; and updated the risk factors from their previous list. Again, the number one modifiable risk factor for Dementia was hearing loss!
This means that one of the primary, personally controllable factors affecting the likelihood of developing Dementia is hearing loss. The evidence to this finding was that reducing hearing loss was reported to reduce the possibility of Dementia by 8%, the highest of all modifiable risk factors. To reduce this risk, the Lancet Commission findings support the importance of addressing hearing loss early; to mitigate Dementia.
Prospective studies designed to evaluate the protective function of wearing hearing aids on brain function confirmed that although hearing loss leads to an increase in cognitive deterioration and memory changes over time, those who used hearing aids were significantly protected from these changes. These are the first studies to provide concrete evidence that hearing aid use preserves cognitive function and memory.
Check out their full findings here:
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