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Researchers Find: Hearing Loss is the largest known modifiable risk factor for prevention of dementia


The 2020 Report of The Lancet Commission, Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care has been released (July 30th, 2020).

The latest research states that if 12 modifiable risk factors were completely eliminated, from childhood to late life, it could reduce the number of dementia cases by 40%. Of these 12, hearing loss in midlife remains the largest modifiable risk factor, estimated to account for 8% of the risk1.

12 Modifiable Risk Factors for dementia:

  • Hearing impairment
  • Physical inactivity
  • Education
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Low social contact
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Obesity
  • Brain injury
  • Depression
  • Air pollution

The study follows on from the Lancet Commission Report, published in the 2017, which revealed nine key risk factors for dementia. As well as adding three new risk factors, the latest findings also outline some clear and actionable recommendations for individuals to help minimise their risk of dementia. These include leading an active life from mid into later life, addressing a hearing loss in mid-life by wearing hearing aids and protecting your hearing by reducing exposure to high noise levels, as well as other lifestyle factors.

Illustrating the scale of the issue, 1 in 3 people born in the UK this year will develop dementia in their lifetime, without life-changing preventions and treatments. There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK and this will increase to over one million by 2025 and over two million by 20502

A recent BSA survey3 from 2019 indicated that more than 50% of people do not believe that they are able to reduce their risk of developing dementia. This shows there’s clearly much to do here to increase people’s awareness of the steps they can take.



There’s currently 12 million people with hearing loss across the UK4, that's around one in six of us but 40% of these people are still undiagnosed and taking on average up to 7 to 10 years to address the issue.  80% of those people who could benefit from a hearing aid are still not using one.

The earlier a hearing loss is detected and treated, the better the outcome for the person. Hearing loss can occur at any age but becomes more common over the age of 50. In addition to immediate benefits of better hearing, as this report highlights, treating hearing loss could have an impact on dementia rates.

Hearing tests with Hidden Hearing’s expert audiologists are FREE, without obligation and readily available at our Clinics on the high street. In addition to potentially better hearing, you might just be doing something that will help prevent a bigger issue in your future.

If you’re concerned about your hearing, call 0800 037 3535 to book a FREE consultation or complete the form above and an advisor will contact you.


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September 2020 will mark the ninth World Alzheimer’s Month campaign, an international campaign to raise dementia awareness and challenge stigma.

The primary objective of World Alzheimer’s Month is to reach out to as many countries as possible, showing the global impact of dementia and promoting dementia awareness and what we can do to help support those living with the disease.

Some facts about dementia in the UK

  1. Currently 850,000 people in the UK have dementia*
  2. Only 34% believe they can do anything about their risk of dementia*
  3. Individuals with mild hearing loss double their risk of dementia +
  4. Individuals with severe hearing loss increase risk by 5 ++

Illustrating the scale of the issue, 1 in 3 people born in the UK this year will develop dementia in their lifetime, without life-changing preventions and treatments. There are 850, 000 people with dementia in the UK and this will increase to over one million by 2025 and over two million by 2050*

++Research conducted with 2,000 adults by One Poll in 2020


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