Hear­ing loss, de­men­tia link

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Health -

THREE-quar­ters of peo­ple over the age of 70 have age-re­lated hear­ing loss and re­search sug­gests this may also be con­nected to de­men­tia.

Two re­searchers from Mur­doch Univer­sity are study­ing the link be­tween the two and they need par­tic­i­pants with and with­out hear­ing loss.

The study is be­ing con­ducted in Su­bi­aco, Mt Law­ley and Joon­dalup, through the Ear Science In­sti­tute of Aus­tralia.

Es­mer­alda Nel and Danelia Kok are hon­ours stu­dents who are work­ing with peo­ple aged 40 to 85 to see whether us­ing hear­ing aids or cochlear im­plants to treat hear­ing loss would af­fect cog­ni­tive func­tion.

Ms Nel said un­treated hear­ing loss could make peo­ple so­cially iso­lated, par­tic­u­larly as un­der­stand­ing speech could be­come dif­fi­cult in noisy en­vi­ron­ments.

It can also be dan­ger­ous, as it may mean peo­ple had trou­ble hear­ing fire alarms or a ket­tle boiling, with all these fac­tors sig­nif­i­cantly im­pact­ing a per­son’s qual­ity of life.

“A cause of con­cern is the in­creas­ing num­bers of adults above the age of 65 that have a hear­ing loss as­so­ci­ated with cog­ni­tive de­cline,” Ms Nel said.

“Stud­ies have shown that peo­ple with a hear­ing loss may have an in­creased risk for all-cause de­men­tia.”

As part of this pi­lot study, which is planned to lead to a big­ger one, par­tic­i­pants, who must have been speak­ing Aus­tralian English for at least 10 years, will re­ceive a free hear­ing screen­ing.

Con­tact 0409 623 367 or clin­i­cal.re­search@ear­science.on­mi­cro soft.com to find out more or join the study.

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