Listen up! Hearing Loss Causes Dementia
Reported August 2011
BALTIMORE (Ivanhoe Newswire) --Two-thirds of older Americans suffer from hearing loss. It can be a part of aging, but hearing loss could lead to more than just lost words. If you’re hard of hearing, listen up!
Katherine Bouton started experiencing hearing loss when she was just 30 years old.
"I picked up the phone when it rang, to talk to somebody and I couldn’t hear anybody on the other end,” Katherine Bouton, a hearing loss patient told Ivanhoe.
That was the beginning of the end of her hearing in one ear.
"Eventually it declined to profoundly deaf,” Bouton said.
Hearing loss affects one in every ten Americans, but many don’t take it seriously and many don’t use hearing aids. But now hear this--a study by otologists, the ear experts at Johns Hopkins Hospital, found that hearing loss may be linked to dementia.
“What we found in this study was that adults with hearing loss, that they basically had increased risk of developing dementia over time depending on how severe their hearing loss was,” Frank Lin, M.D, Ph.D., an otologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital told Ivanhoe.
Doctors believe the strain of decoding sounds over many years may overwhelm the brain, leaving people with hearing loss more vulnerable to dementia. Also hearing loss can lead to social isolation, which is a known risk factor for dementia and other cognitive disorders.
“People with severe hearing loss had about a five-fold increase risk of developing dementia over time,” Dr. Lin said.
Katherine uses hearing aides and listening strategies to improve her communication skills.
“I’m very good at understanding sentences and putting material together and guessing what people are saying and I can read lips a little bit,” Bouton concluded.
It’s a combination worth listening for. The more hearing loss a person has, the higher their risk of developing dementia, which is another good reason to check the volume on your iPod now.
The Acoustical Society of America contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.
Click here to Go Inside This Science and View Video or contact:
Frank R. Lin, M.D. Ph.D.
Department of Otolaryngology-
Center on Aging and Health
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