Local audiologist warns untreated hearing loss increases dementia risk
As Jeremy Clarkson has been warned that his hearing loss has increased his chances of dementia, Philip Hainsworth, Audiologist at Chester’s Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists provides his insights on the link between these two conditions and the steps people can take to reduce their likelihood of developing dementia.
A recent decade-long study, published in the Lancet, found that compared with those with normal hearing, people with hearing loss not using hearing aids had a 42% higher risk of dementia. There was no increased risk in people who used hearing aids.
“This new study really highlights the significant impact that hearing loss can have on our cognition. While it’s common to suffer from some mild hearing loss as we age, many of us are suffering in silence with hearing loss and this can have a big impact in the long run, as this research demonstrates.
“While the link between dementia and hearing loss is still being investigated more fully, the social isolation which hearing loss can bring results in a reduction in cognitive stimulation – which increases the risk factors for the disease. Hearing aids can have a positive impact on the early onset of dementia as the extra volume they provide creates extra stimulus in the brain.
“Thankfully, there are steps we can take to prevent the potential progression from hearing loss to dementia.”
- Protection is better than cure
“Protecting your hearing is crucial to prevent any further damage. Limiting exposure to loud noises, wearing ear protection for gardening and DIY activities and avoiding excessive usage of headphones or earbuds at high volumes are all everyday practices we can implement to maintain the quality of our hearing as we get older.”
- Seek support early on
“Always seek professional help as early as possible when you start noticing a difference in your hearing, so an audiologist can identify the cause of hearing loss and recommend the best solution. Do not assume or self-diagnose. Some conditions can be treated with medication or medical intervention. An audiologist can arrange for a referral if necessary.
“An audiologist can assess the cause of hearing loss, which could be something as straightforward as build up of wax, or something more long term. If a hearing aid is required, they are best fitted early on as when hearing loss has progressed, the amplification of sound can be uncomfortable and even ineffective.”
- Embrace hearing technologies
“We sometimes see a real reluctance from clients to wear a hearing aid. But there are many options available on the market today, including invisible extended wear hearing aid solutions which we provide at Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists Chester, which means enhancing your hearing is more simple and discreet than ever before.”
Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists Chester is hosting an Audiology Open Day on 30 January where visitors can enjoy refreshments and book in a free hearing health check. For more information, to book an appointment or to register to attend the Audiology Open Day please contact the practice on 01244 315112 or visit www.bayfieldsopticians.com.
Why not pop into Bayfields on Eastgate street for their audiology Day on Tuesday 30th 2024!