An Unusual Early Sign of Dementia

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Be aware of this unusual sign
of dementia.
Hearing loss is linked to a
higher risk of dementia, new research concludes.
Older people with severe
hearing loss are at a 54% greater risk of experiencing cognitive decline.
The study included 10,107 men
— average age 62 — who were followed over eight years.
All were asked standard
questions about their thinking and reasoning skills every four years.
The results showed that those
with mild hearing loss were at a 30% higher risk of cognitive decline, while
moderate hearing loss was linked to a 43% higher risk.

Dr Sharon Curhan, the study’s
first author, said:
“Dementia is a substantial
public health challenge that continues to grow. 
There is no cure, and
effective treatments to prevent progression or reverse the course of dementia
are lacking. 
Our findings show that hearing
loss is associated with new onset of subjective cognitive concerns which may be
indicative of early stage changes in cognition. 
These findings may help
identify individuals at greater risk of cognitive decline.”
The researchers checked if
hearing aids made any difference, but their findings were inconclusive,
suggesting their influence is modest at best.

Dr Curhan said:
“Whether there is a temporal
association between hearing loss and cognitive decline and whether this
relation is causal remains unclear. 
We plan to conduct further
longitudinal studies of the relation of hearing loss and cognition in women and
in younger populations, which will be informative.”
The study was published in the
journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia (Curhan et al., 2019).

Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.