Part Two: Hearing loss and cognitive health - treat hearing loss today, prevent dementia tomorrow

One of the world’s leading medical journals, The Lancet, published a study in 2017 called “Dementia - The Greatest Global Challenge for Health and Social Care in the 21st Century”.

 

The Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care conducted the study. The purpose of the study was for providing recommendations for management and prevention of dementia.

 

The sheer importance and urgency of this Commission’s recommendations is real and sobering. 47 million people were living with dementia in 2015. However, thanks to a hastily aging population all over the world, by 2050 that number is expected to triple.

Hearing loss - 1 of 9 modifiable lifestyle factors of dementia

“Dementia is by no means an inevitable consequence” of aging, according to the Commission’s 62 page report. In contrast, the commission suggests that nine modifiable “lifestyle factors might reduce, or increase, a person’s risk for developing dementia”. These modifiable lifestyle factors were ranked highest to lowest risk as follows:

 

  1. Hearing loss
  2. Childhood education
  3. Smoking
  4. Depression
  5. Physical inactivity
  6. Social isolation
  7. Hypertension
  8. Obesity
  9. Diabetes

One third of dementia cases may be preventable

Exactly how each individual navigates and manages these nine lifestyle factors consistently throughout their life is a huge factor in whether or not that person later may suffer from dementia.

 

Generally, the manifestation of dementia related symptoms don’t manifest until age 65 or older. However, according to the author’s notes, dementia actually begins in the 40-65 age range. It was determined that during varied stages in life, the management of these nine modifiable risk factors could “contribute to prevention or delay of dementia”.

 

The recommendation for hearing loss is to manage it in midlife (between age 40-65), prior to having a chance to negatively impact cognitive skills.

 

The conclusion of the Commission is that if these nine lifestyle factors are handled correctly or even eliminated, it “could prevent more than a third of cases of dementia.”

The reasons hearing loss is a risk factor for dementia

The Commission was honest about why unmanaged hearing loss increases the risk of dementia. They admitted that the science to support the findings is not yet unanimous. However, research has confirmed that the cognitive load on the brain is increased by hearing loss. Additionally, hearing loss accelerates brain atrophy and leads to social isolation - all of which are likely contributing factors for dementia.

 

Our specifically designed and new hearing aids, the Livio Edge AI, were designed to specifically help individuals manage hearing loss and maintain good cognitive health. Also, the Livio Edge AI is our best sounding and best performing hearing aids ever that allows you to monitor your body activity and brain.

Treat hearing loss today - prevent dementia tomorrow

For older adults and the people who care for them, having dementia is a legitimate concern.  

 

The bright side is that research is favorable regarding ways we can “reduce the incidence of dementia or substantially delay it’s onset” -  and almost all of these are within our control.

 

In today’s modern world, hearing loss is definitely something you can manage with the assistance of an experienced hearing professional. If you suffer from hearing loss, all of this new research gives you a fantastic reason to take care of it as soon as possible! To find a hearing clinic in your area, call (888) 919-6824 or click here.

 

By Starkey Canada

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