Can Hearing Loss Increase Risk of Dementia?

Recent piece from Cleveland Clinic highlights possible connection

For years, people have chalked up both hearing and memory loss as natural signs of aging. But now researchers are paying more attention to possible links between hearing loss and cognitive issues, up to and including dementia.

The prevailing theory is that when a person experiences hearing loss, he or she is more prone to withdrawing from social activities and conversations out of embarrassment or inconvenience. That loss of social engagement lessens the individual’s level of mental stimulation, leading to increased risk for dementia.

Geriatric Medicine Specialist Ronan Factora, MD, says this is why it’s so important to take hearing loss seriously.

“If you do have hearing loss and your physician offers a solution like hearing aids, try them out,” he said. “If you wait too long and develop memory problems, it will be more difficult for you to learn how to use these devices. It’s best to get used to them while the mind is still sharp so you can improve your quality of life.

Cleveland Clinic also offered these helpful hints on maintaining brain health.

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