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What is the link between hearing loss and dementia?

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04/09/18

Treating hearing loss early is important for several reasons:

 

  • Research has suggested that people with higher levels of ‘cognitive reserve’ may be more able to withstand damage to the brain caused by diseases like Alzheimer’s for longer. However, it may be that the extra mental effort needed to cope with hearing loss could leave people with less cognitive reserve.
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  • For some people, problems with hearing may lead to social isolation or depression, both of which have also been linked to an increased risk of dementia.
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  • Research suggests that staying socially active and engaged may help lower the risk of dementia. Difficulties with hearing could be a barrier to this, so it’s important for hearing loss to be treated to help people stay socially connected.
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  • For people who have dementia, hearing loss may compound any confusion and communication difficulties they may be experiencing as a result of their dementia.
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  • The brain plays a vital role in good hearing. Some researchers suggest that the physical damage caused by Alzheimer's and other dementias may affect the brain’s ability to process auditory information. 
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Difficulties with hearing may be a symptom in different types of dementia. Hidden Hearing is helping Alzheimer's Research UK to support groundbreaking research into dementia with Lewy bodies, which causes a range of distressing symptoms including visual and auditory hallucinations. The study will investigate how changes in the connections between different brain regions may be involved in these symptoms, helping inform new treatment approaches.

 

  

If you would like to find out more about how Hidden Hearing are supporting dementia research download your free information booklet

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