As the population ages, the number of people with Alzheimer's disease continues to increase. If aging cannot be combated, there are other risk factors we can work against. Hearing loss is one.
Several studies have already suggested a possible link between hearing loss and the occurrence of dementia. But new work, the most comprehensive ever done on the subject, confirms this report.
Isolation and cognitive decline
In fact, researchers from the University of Southern Denmark studied clinical data from more than 570,000 patients. Their results show that people with hearing loss have a higher risk (13%) of developing dementia than those with normal hearing.
The more serious the hearing problems, the greater the risk. Two reasons are then put forward: Progressive deafness would be synonymous with isolation. The brain will compensate for this decrease in hearing at the expense of other cognitive functions.
Awareness is important
On the other hand – and this is the good news – recognizing the problem is a first step towards prevention.
While the risk of dementia was 20% higher in people not wearing hearing aids, it was only 6% when hearing aids were fitted. “This suggests that wearing a hearing aid may prevent or delay the development of dementia,” the authors explain.
We still need to get some people to accept their deafness. In France, hearing loss remains taboo. “Being fit, for some, makes you old and remains psychologically difficult,” the JNA explains.