Image shoes man and brain showing the connection between dementia and hearing loss

Dementia and hearing loss

Lancet report from 2020 suggests:

Managing hearing loss may help prevent dementia

A new report published by the Lancet Commission suggests that hearing loss is a significant modifiable risk factor against dementia. In fact, moderate hearing impairment can increase one’s dementia risk 3-fold1. Hearing loss could lead to lowered mental stimulation and isolation. It is thought, managing hearing loss may help protect against cognitive decline by keeping the brain actively engaged in everyday life.

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The surprising link between hearing loss and dementia

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Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia (2)
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Half of people don’t know the risk factors for dementia(3)
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Moderate hearing loss can increase one's dementia risk 3-fold(1)
Dementia and hearing loss
If all hearing loss was properly managed, nearly 1 in 13 cases of dementia could be delayed or eliminated(4)

There are ways to reduce the risk of dementia

The 2020 Report by The Lancet Commission entitled: Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care was released on July 30th, 2020. The latest research states that modifying 12 risk factors from childhood to late life could delay or prevent 40% of dementia cases. These lifestyle factors can be adjusted in order to reduce one’s risk for developing dementia. The 12 modifiable risk factors are presented below:

Image shows 12 modifiable risk factors

Of these 12 risk factors, an untreated hearing loss in midlife is a significant modifiable risk factor of dementia. Additionally, dementia risk varies based on level of hearing loss.

  • Mild hearing loss doubles dementia risk
  • Moderate hearing loss triples the risk of dementia 
  • Severe hearing impairment increases the dementia risk by up to 5 times that of those who do not have hearing impairment1

The recent study by the Lancet also cites that “hearing loss might result in cognitive decline through reduced cognitive stimulation.”1

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