Hear­ing aid, eye surgery help ward off dementia

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS -

DEMENTIA could be pre­vented by sim­ply wear­ing a hear­ing aid or hav­ing surgery to im­prove eye­sight, two ma­jor stud­ies have sug­gested.

A study of more than 5000 re­spon­dents found cataract surgery halved the rate of cog­ni­tive de­cline, while re­search in­volv­ing 2040 par­tic­i­pants found that wear­ing a hear­ing aid had an even big­ger ef­fect, re­duc­ing the de­cline in mem­ory and think­ing skills by more than 75 per cent.

Dr Asri Ma­ha­rani, co-au­thor of the stud­ies by Manch­ester Uni­ver­sity, said age was one of the most im­por­tant fac­tors im­pli­cated in cog­ni­tive de­cline.

“We find that hear­ing and vi­sion in­ter­ven­tions may slow it down and per­haps pre­vent some cases of dementia, which is ex­cit­ing, though we can’t say yet that this is a causal re­la­tion­ship,” she said.

Co-au­thor Dr Piers Dawes said, “It’s not re­ally cer­tain why hear­ing and vis­ual prob­lems have an im­pact on cog­ni­tive de­cline, but I’d guess that iso­la­tion, stigma and the re­sul­tant lack of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity that are linked to hear­ing and vi­sion prob­lems might have some­thing to do with it.

“These stud­ies un­der­line just how im­por­tant it is to over­come the bar­ri­ers that deny peo­ple from ac­cess­ing hear­ing and vis­ual aids.”

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