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-fold. 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.

Worldwide, around 50
million people
 have
dementia

Half of people don’t
know the risk factors
for dementia

Moderate hearing loss
can increase one’s
dementia risk 3-fold

If all hearing loss was
properly managed,
nearly 1 in 13 cases of 

dementia could be
delayed or eliminated

There are ways to reduce the risk of dementia

The 2020 Report of The Lancet Commission, Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care, was released on July 30th, 2020. The report indicates that modifying all 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:

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

  • Mild hearing loss doubles the dementia risk
  • Moderate hearing loss triples the risk
  • Severe hearing impairment increases 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.

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FAQ about dementia

What is Dementia?

According to the National Institute of Aging, dementia can be defined as “The loss of cognitive functioning — thinking, remembering, and reasoning—and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.” The number of people living with dementia worldwide is currently estimated at 50 million people – with nearly 10 million new cases every year.

Does hearing loss cause dementia?

While there are many factors that contribute to the risk of developing dementia, studies show that hearing loss is associated with cognitive decline. In fact, hearing loss is a significant modifiable risk factor when it comes to lowering dementia risk.

Help lower your dementia risk by managing your hearing loss:

What is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?

Dementia is a broader term for cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia. According to the World Health Organization, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and may contribute to 60-70% of dementia cases.

What are the signs of dementia?

According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, some common signs of dementia are:

    • Declining memory
    • Difficulty performing familiar tasks
    • Language problems
    • Disorientation Poor or decreased judgment
    • Problem keeping track of things
    • Misplacing things
    • Changes in mood or behaviour
    • Trouble with images and spatial relationships
    • Withdrawal from work or other activities