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Can the addressing of hearing loss help combat Alzheimer's disease?

22 Nov 2011

The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) has called for sufferers of hearing loss to address their hearing problems and take note of the association between hearing health and overall cognitive function.

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The announcement comes in recognition of World Alzheimer's Day (September 21st) and is based on the release of their related study published in the journal Archives of Neurology. The event aims to raise awareness of both hearing loss and Alzheimer's disease and the relationship between the two.

The study findings revealed that older adults with hearing loss are apparently more prone to developing dementia. Meanwhile, this risk increases as hearing problems become more severe. More specifically, the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease increased with hearing loss in particular. For every ten decibels of hearing loss, the level of risk of developing Alzheimer's increased by 20 per cent.

BHI emphasises that failure to address hearing loss, even in its early stages, can make Alzheimer's more difficult to detect further down the line.

Dr Sergei Kochkin, BHI's executive director, said: "There is strong evidence that hearing impairment contributes to the progression of cognitive dysfunction in older adults. Unmanaged hearing loss can interrupt the cognitive processing of spoken language and sound, exhaust cognitive reserve, and lead to social isolation - regardless of other coexisting conditions.

"But when an individual has both Alzheimer's and hearing loss, many of the symptoms of hearing loss can interact with those common to Alzheimer's, making the disease more difficult than it might be if the hearing loss had been addressed."

If you think you may have a hearing loss why not take our online hearing check questionnaire or make an appointment to have a hearing test at your nearest Amplifon branch.

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