The Senior

Healthy hearing may help protect against cognitive decline

A simple test might be all it takes to help maximise your hearing and brain function. Picture supplied
A simple test might be all it takes to help maximise your hearing and brain function. Picture supplied

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Previous studies have shown the link between hearing loss and dementia [1], but a new report suggests that looking after your hearing health may help protect against cognitive decline.

The Lancet published a report on July 30, 2020 which indicates that hearing loss is a significant modifiable risk factor against dementia [2].

The study presents that "hearing loss might result in cognitive decline through reduced cognitive stimulation", and the Lancet therefore encourages taking measures to manage hearing loss.

By being proactive and managing hearing loss as soon as possible, the risk for cognitive decline and dementia may be reduced [1, 2, 3, 4].

Modifiable risk factors

There are 12 lifestyle factors, including hearing loss, which account for around 40 per cent of worldwide dementia cases. The Lancet study suggests that reducing these risk factors may decrease the risk of developing dementia.

These risk factors include:

  • less education
  • hypertension
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • obesity
  • smoking
  • depression
  • social isolation
  • physical inactivity
  • air pollution
  • diabetes and
  • hearing loss.

Modifying these risk factors might prevent or delay up to 40 per cent of dementias [2].

Keeping the brain mentally stimulated

As one of our most important senses, hearing allows us to connect with others and live an active lifestyle. Studies have linked untreated hearing loss to withdrawal from social situations, social isolation, stress, depression and reduced performance at work or during education.

Another study notes that "hearing impairment is associated with a 30-40 per cent rate of cognitive decline [4].

Managing your hearing loss and making sure your brain stays mentally stimulated is one way you can help protect yourself against the risk of cognitive decline [2, 4].

Keeping the gateways to communication open by managing your hearing loss could help facilitate a healthy and active lifestyle through all stages of life - especially in mid to later stages of life where the risk for dementia increases [1, 5].

Improve your long-term health

It is important to take good care of your ears - protecting your ears from excessive loud noise could help prevent hearing loss [1]. If you think that you might have hearing loss, it's a good idea to get your hearing checked so that you can manage it.

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Audika Hearing Clinic is partnering with Seniors Card in 2023 to offer eligible Seniors Card members a reward for prioritising their hearing health. New clients who complete an in-clinic hearing check are eligible for a $50 Visa Prepaid Gift Card. Offer available to Seniors Card members until 31 December 2023^.

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Getting a hearing health check is a step towards a healthier, happier life. To book an appointment with Audika Hearing Clinic today and speak with one of their hearing experts, call 1800 609 962 or visit our website to book now.

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  1. G Livingston, A Sommerlad, V Orgeta, et al. Dementia prevention, intervention, and care. The Lancet. July 20, 2017.
  2. G Livingston, Jonathan Huntley, Andrew Sommerlad, et al. Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commission. The Lancet. July 30, 2020.
  3. F.R Lin, E Jeffrey Metter, Richard J O'Brien, et al. Hearing loss and incident dementia. Arch Neurol. Vol 68, No 2. February 2011.
  4. F.R Lin, Marilyn Albert. Hearing Loss and Dementia - Who's Listening?. Aging and Mental Health. Vol 18, No 6. May 29, 2014.
  5. World Health Organization. Dementia. September 19, 2019.