Can untreated hearing loss cause dementia?9th September 2020
Dementia is a term for a range of conditions that affect the brain such as memory loss and difficulties with thinking or language. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by various diseases. Alzheimer’s is perhaps the most common and well-known cause of dementia. However, it isn’t the only one.
Can untreated hearing loss cause dementia?
For many years, medical professionals have been investigating the link between hearing loss and dementia. Findings prove that they are connected in many ways. However, research is ongoing and some of the finer details remain unknown.
Despite some unknowns, there is strong evidence to show that:
- Mild hearing loss doubles the risk of developing dementia
- Moderate hearing loss leads to three times the risk of developing dementia
- Severe hearing loss increases the risk of developing dementia by around five times
Facts are taken from Action on Hearing Loss study.
Can the risk of dementia be reduced?
In the event of hearing loss, the answer is yes. In 2017, a detailed medical review about this was published in The Lancet. In this review, research suggested that untreated hearing loss is predicted to be the cause of 9% of all dementia cases.
These findings suggest that addressing the hearing loss at its root, particularly when the patient is middle-aged, could be crucial to reducing the risk of developing dementia later in life. Research is still ongoing, and full conclusive evidence is yet to be finalised.
The link between hearing loss and dementia
Hearing loss and dementia are intertwined more than you may think. While it is thought that hearing loss can be a potential cause of dementia, dementia can also be made worse by hearing loss.
Here are a few ways that the two are linked:
- Hearing loss can sometimes be falsely diagnosed as dementia
- Dementia can make the impact of hearing loss worse
- Hearing loss can make the symptoms of dementia seem worse
- Hearing loss can speed up the onset of dementia
It’s time to treat your hearing loss!
Hearing loss can affect many parts of our daily lives. You may find it difficult to socialise, hear the TV or be in crowded places when your hearing is damaged. As well as this, it can affect our physical and mental well-being. A condition such as dementia may be one of these potential side effects.
Although we cannot say that treating hearing loss will prevent dementia, there is strong evidence to show that it may reduce the risk.
If you, a friend, or a family member is experiencing hearing loss, we’re here to help. Our clinics are open with Covid-19 safety procedures in place, ready to help you get on the road to better hearing.