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Dementia and Hearing Loss


Dementia and Hearing Loss 
 
I have seen patients who were diagnosed with mild to moderate hearing loss at the age of 55 but
refused to wear hearing aids due to various factors such as cosmetic issues, cost factors and
stigma.
Besides the factors mentioned by the patients, I discussed with them the association between
hearing loss and dementia.
At first, they were surprised to hear about it and they decided to give hearing aids a try after some
consultations.
Well, I guess it’s time to share with you more on this topic.
 
Hearing loss is an important risk factor for dementia
 
According to the World Health Organization, dementia is classified as a major public health
problem that could impact human life profoundly.
Untreated hearing loss could lead to dementia.
A study done by Johns Hopkins University in 2011 reported patients with mild hearing loss are
two times more likely to develop dementia, moderate hearing loss tripled the risk, and patients
with severe hearing loss are at five times higher risk to develop dementia.
 
Auditory fatigue and social isolation
 
Hearing loss can cause auditory fatigue when the brains need to work harder as the patients need
to focus more to listen, especially in a noisy environment.
It drains their energy and often causes the patients to give up on communicating and socialising
with their family members and friends.
They may start withdrawing themselves from human interaction and end up in social isolation.
 
How hearing aids can help?
 
Wearing hearing aids keeps the brain stimulated and reduces patients’ listening efforts.
The audiologist will fine-tune the hearing aids to make sure their hearing aids are fitted optimally.
These make the patients be able to hear again and allow them to engage in a conversation with
their loved ones.
Some studies suggest that it may be essential to treat the hearing loss before significant brain
shrinkage occurs. However, there is a lack of research proving that treating hearing loss could
slow down or reverse the progress of dementia.
 
Start your hearing journey with us
 
Patients with hearing loss need more than just a pair of hearing aids.
They also need audiologists who can make an accurate diagnosis and provide professional
consultation to solve their hearing problems.
Visit the nearest 20dB Hearing Center today for a hearing test! 
 
- Tong Lee Choo, Clinical Audiologist at 20dB Hearing Johor Bharu-
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