Gradual hearing loss is a common symptom of ageing, but in some people it may also be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, a recent study suggests*
The risk of dementia appears to rise as hearing declines. Older people with mild hearing impairment – those who have difficulty following a conversation in a crowded restaurant say – were nearly twice as likely as those with normal hearing to develop dementia, the study found. Severe hearing loss nearly quintupled the risk of dementia. This study may prompt men and women to pay more attention to hearing loss. Even if treating hearing loss only delayed dementia, that alone could have enormous consequences, researchers say.
* Study by Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the National Institute on Ageing