Seniors with hearing loss were 24 percent more likely to lose their cognitive abilities, a study at Johns Hopkins University has found.
The AARP recently reported on the work of Frank Lin, an otologist and epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins. "The general perception is that hearing loss is a relatively inconsequential part of aging,"Lin said. But his findings suggest that it may play a much more important role in brain health than previously thought.
In 2011 Lin and his colleagues monitored the cognitive health of 639 people who were mentally sharp when the study began. The researchers followed most of them for about 12 years, and some for as long as 18 years.
They found that the worse the initial hearing loss was, the more likely the person was to develop dementia. Compared to those with normal hearing, people with moderate hearing loss had three times the risk.
Lin's work raises the possibility that treating hearing loss more aggressively could help stave off cognitive decline and dementia.
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