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Seniors with hearing loss have higher dementia rates

September 12, 2012
by pamela tabar
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Researchers have found a link between dementia and hearing loss, heightening the importance of regular hearing assessments for all ages. Seniors who have hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia later in life, and the more extensive the hearing impariment, the higher the cognition risk, according to a study conducted by Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging.

Although researchers haven’t determined exactly why the two conditions are connected, they speculate that the constant strain of trying to interpret sounds may be taxing on the brain. The two conditions share other traits, such as feelings of social isolation, anxiety and loss of independence, the study notes.

Hearing loss also can be mistaken for dementia. Seniors should have regular checkups and treatment for any hearing loss to ensure the correct diagnosis, notes the Better Hearing Institute.

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