Can Hearing Loss Be A Cause Of Dementia?

In a recent new American study of the elderly population regarding the effect of hearing loss on the development of dementia, the researchers found that there is indeed a direct link between hearing loss, and even complete hearing loss in the elderly, and the development of the disease. Whilst this at first glance may sound a dramatic statement, there are some clear links between hearing loss and dementia. Why is this a fact? It is known that a lot of dementia patients have been diagnosed with the disease because of a circulatory issue – blood not reaching the brain efficiently; which can also be a symptom of hearing loss. 

Research and science speaks for itself 

The researchers estimate that in a few decades from now (until 2050) the incidence of dementia will increase among people with hearing loss – about 100 million people worldwide, which is one in every 85 people. Therefore, the need for medical intervention arises, even though these measures are not currently available to conventional medicine. The medical intervention should include proper auditory tests which can determine any issues with the hearing and treat any conditions that you may have.  Being fit and healthy has never been more important, especially in a world where we are constantly faced with poor dietary choices and the lack of motivation to exercise. Keeping your exercise levels high can contribute to better general health as well as hearing and prevention of dementia. 

Dementia and the phenomenon of hearing loss have a common denominator: in both cases there are common neuropathological processes, a phenomenon of weakening of the cognitive reservoir in the brain, a phenomenon of isolation from the social environment as a result of hearing loss and basic damage to the auditory nerve (environmental nerve deafness). The phenomenon can result from any cause separately and can also result from a combination of all the phenomena together. 

How to prevent dementia and hearing loss

Whilst the two may not seem mutually exclusive, the ways in which we combat both can assist across the board. Meaning, you can adopt these changes and help stave off the issues for much longer. Here are some of the top tips:

  • Exercise frequently to improve blood flow to the head 
  • Engage in brain training from puzzles and problem-solving activities 
  • Eat a healthy diet, rich in Omega 3 for brain health 

You will want to try and avoid any type of medications, but if you do have hearing loss that needs some type of assistance, you may be given medications that reduce edema or increase blood flow rate. You may also be given ear drops that dissolve wax that has accumulated in the ear and blocked the eardrum, and more. When you can hear better, you can actively engage in conversations which helps keep the brain alive and active; which essentially is working to prevent dementia. Lack of communication means that we are processing less in the brain and this can lead to a quicker onset. Be aware of your general health and the rest will follow.

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