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Audiology, Inc.

 

 

Phone  719.520.1155

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HEARING LOSS AND DEMENTIA

The following is my opinion regarding the relationship between untreated hearing loss and the chances of developing senile dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

If you have been told you need hearing aids to prevent you from developing dementia, it is an over statement. Purchasing hearing aids will not prevent you from developing dementia.  Really, it should be not enter into the discussion at all as far as I am concerned.

Here's the research that started this:   

In a population study by Frank Lin, MD, ear physician at John's Hopkins University, it was found older individuals with communicatively significant hearing loss had a 30-40% tendency to develop senile dementia as compared to normal hearing persons. This was fuel for the hearing aid salesperson.

To use this as a rationale to sell hearing aids is inappropriate.  According to WebMD, it simply means if you have hearing loss, your odds are higher. 

My clinical opinion:  Here's what I tell patients -  You will or will not develop dementia symptom independently of having (or not having) hearing loss and/or using (or not using) hearing aids. 

CONCLUSION:  Do not be coinsured into using hearing aids because you are concerned about developing dementia or Alzheimer's.  Get hearing aids if you need to improve your hearing and understanding.....and only your hearing.
Reference:

Lin FR, Metter EJ, O'Brien RJ, Resnick SM, Zonderman AB, Ferrucci L. Hearing loss and incident dementia. Archives of neurology. 2011; 68(2):214-20. NIHMSID: NIHMS336097 PubMed [journal] PMID: 21320988, PMCID: PMC3277836

Available online: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21320988