More research seems to indicate a connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss. Cognitive decline describes how the brain's functional ability changes over time. As it ages, the brain's ability to make decisions, process information, and perform various activities begins to slow. The rate of decline can be impacted by a variety of factors including what we eat, how often we exercise, and the presence of other conditions like high blood pressure. New research is showing that how well we hear also impacts the rate of decline.
Dr. Frank Lin of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore conducted research that illustrates the following conclusions:
- In a study of 1,984 adults aged 70-79, those with hearing loss showed a 41% and a 32% greater rate of cognitive decline over a 6 year period than those with normal hearing in two different types of testing methodology.
- The rate of cognitive decline among hearing loss sufferers was also more rapid. Dr. Lin's research revealed a significant level of cognitive decline after a 7.7 year period in people with hearing loss. This same level of decline occurred in people with normal hearing after a period of 10.9 years.
- Dr. Lin's research also demonstrated that the risk of dementia increases with the severity of the hearing loss. In a study involving 639 participants, more than one-third of the risk of dementia was associated with hearing loss in people over 60.
For a more detailed report on the research and the source of this information, click here.
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