Research finds a higher risk of dementia in people with impaired hearing
Poor hearing in the elderly – which can be addressed – is among the most important factors that increase the risk of developing dementia, a study shows.
There is a 36 per cent higher likelihood of developing dementia among those with impaired hearing compared to those with normal hearing, according to the new study. It was conducted by the Norwegian National Centre for Ageing and Health (link in Norwegian).
The study shows a clear connection between measured hearing impairment and dementia for those under the age of 85.
Could mean a lot
“Reduced hearing is considered to be the condition that poses the greatest risk for dementia. If we can reduce the risk of dementia even slightly through preventive measures for hearing loss, it could mean a lot for the individual and society,” researcher Christian Myrstad says.
In Norway, one million people are affected by reduced hearing. Myrstad emphasises the need for increased awareness of the effect of hearing loss on the ageing population.
Surveys over 11 years
Participants in the Health Survey of Trøndelag (HUNT), were involved in four surveys conducted at 11-year intervals. It started with HUNT1 from 1984 to 1986, and the study stretched to HUNT 4 from 2017 to 2019.
“A special focus in HUNT4 was on people aged 70 years and over. This sub-study included, among other things, 7,135 participants who also underwent hearing tests with audiometry in HUNT2 and who now received dementia assessments in HUNT4 for those aged 70 and older,” Myrstad says.
Translated by Alette Bjordal Gjellesvik