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Hearing loss linked to dementia… but there could be a solution

Oliver Peterson
Article image for Hearing loss linked to dementia… but there could be a solution

Unaddressed hearing loss is responsible for more dementia among older adults than any risk factors including alcohol over consumption, traumatic brain injury, obesity and hypertension combined according to research.

Ear Science Institute Australia is currently undertaking the HearCog clinical trial, which will investigate the impact on cognitive function of hearing-impaired older adults by using hearing aids and cochlear implants.

Speaking with Oliver Peterson, HearCog Trial Project Team Leader Dona Jayakody said they found when they treated hearing loss with cochlear implants there was an improvement in cognitive functions. Now they are taking the next step.

“Then we ask the question, what happens when we treat the hearing loss with hearing aids?” said Ms Jayakody.

“So we are trying to find out whether we can delay or arrest dementia by treating hearing loss with hearing aids.”

This is trial is significant given 1 in 6 Australians suffer from hearing loss with Ear Science Institute CEO Sandra Bellekom saying this will increase to 1 in 4 due the the ageing population.

Young people are not immune.

“[They are] developing hearing loss rapidly from noise exposure due to the use of devices in their ears,” said Ms Bellekom.

Participants are still required for the study. If you are 70+ years old and think you have hearing loss, register your interest –  0418 282 192

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