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Dementia and hearing loss

Hearing aid use can protect against cognitive decline

A new report published by the Lancet Commission shows that hearing loss is the largest modifiable risk factor against dementia.

In fact, moderate hearing impairment can increase one's risk of dementia by threefold. This is because hearing loss leads to lowered mental stimulation, isolation, and, ultimately, cognitive decline.

Fortunately, hearing aids have been shown to 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
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Half of people don’t know the risk factors for dementia
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Individuals with moderate hearing loss have triple the risk of dementia
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If all hearing loss was treated, nearly 1 in 10 cases of dementia could be eliminated

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 30 July, 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 remains the largest modifiable risk factor of dementia. The risk of dementia also varies based on level of hearing loss.

  • Mild hearing loss doubles the risk of dementia
  • Moderate hearing loss triples the risk of dementia 
  • Severe hearing impairment increases the risk of dementia of up to five times that of those who don't have a hearing impairment

The recent study by the Lancet also states that, “hearing loss might result in cognitive decline through reduced cognitive stimulation.” The study further recommends the use of hearing aids for those with hearing loss, as a way to protect against cognitive decline.

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How hearing aids can support your brain

Hearing aids support your brain by helping you to process sound so that you can keep your brain mentally stimulated. When you have a hearing loss, it takes extra effort to keep up with conversations. This can lead to avoiding social situations and feelings of isolation.

Hearing aids help to keep you connected to the world around you so that you can confidently participate in social gatherings and activities with friends and loved ones

Our hearing care experts recommend hearing aids as a means of staying socially engaged with loved ones and participating in meaningful activities. 

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FAQs about dementia


2. G Livingston, Jonathan Huntley, Andrew Sommerlad, et al. Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commission. The Lancet. July 30, 2020.