Hearing loss raises the risk of getting dementia according to many clinical studies, including a large study done at Johns Hopkins University (Dr. Lin et al, Archives of Neurology). Even people with just mild hearing loss in this study were twice as likely to develop dementia. Individuals with moderate hearing loss were at three times the risk level for developing dementia, and those with severe hearing loss were five times as likely to get dementia compared to people with normal hearing.
What is the BEST way to Check for Hearing Loss?
Since hearing loss can happen slowly over the years, many people do not realize how much of their hearing they have lost. The best way to check for hearing loss is to schedule an appointment with an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) Specialist. After a thorough ENT examination, an Audiologist should give you a comprehensive hearing test.
Possible Ways to Prevent Dementia
Although hearing loss raises your chance of dementia, an ENT Specialist, can help you prevent this, by fixing your hearing loss:
- they will be able to tell if there is an easy fix for your hearing loss, such as removing wax that is blocking the ear canal, or fluid filling the space behind the eardrum
- they may prescribe hearing aids, to bring your hearing back to normal levels
If you or someone you know is having difficulty hearing, schedule an appointment with an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist ASAP; a thorough exam and hearing test will determine your next steps and may help to prevent dementia.
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