“Beta, lower the TV volume”, “Honey, we don’t want people in other houses to hear our music” These are common sentences that’s often heard in many of our houses. Elderly people have hearing problems and this is nothing new to us. We can understand and empathize when they talk loudly or watch TV soaps with a blaring volume. But even kids, youngsters and middle-aged people wish to hear at a higher volume as they find it more comfortable and better. If you are going to maximize the volume at this age, how are you going to manage it when you grow old? Hearing problems are sure to hit you sooner than later causing trouble not only to you but also to other people around you! Times are changing and our health is also witnessing radical changes (for the worse) owing to inappropriate lifestyle practices and eating schedules. It is now seen that hearing loss during middle age is on the rise and such loss can increase the risk of dementia later in life.
A study in the journal JAMA followed more than 16,000 men and women and found that hearing loss diagnosis done between 45 and 65 years of age doubled the risk of dementia diagnosis in a decade or so in both men and women. 8,135 patients diagnosed with hearing loss and another 8,135 patients without hearing loss were included in the study. All of them were free of dementia at the beginning but in course of time 1,868 people developed dementia in which 59% of them belonged to the hearing loss group. It was 19 persons affected by dementia for every 10,000 persons in the hearing loss group while it was 14 per 10,000 in the group without hearing loss. Hearing loss accounted for a 17% increase in risk for dementia and it was mostly in the youngest people involved in the study. This study clearly shows that screening for hearing loss must happen in all individuals in their middle age. The study team also observed that even a mild hearing loss during middle years of lives increases the risk of cognitive decline which make it absolutely necessary that individuals go for screening, hearing protection and hearing aids to prevent deteriorating their health.
Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is mostly due to heredity and research suggests that two-thirds of dementia cases are genetic and only one-third is due to modifiable risk factors such as hypertension, obesity, depression, alcohol-related illness, diabetes, smoking and hearing loss (this accounts for almost 10% of dementia risk).
Ignoring Hearing Loss to Feel Younger
People have associated certain factors with ageing and hearing loss is one of them. Read more about the other factors that occur as a result of ageing by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com. We feel that we are ageing when we can’t hear properly and hence, those with hearing loss mostly don’t discuss it with their loved ones until it seems impossible to tackle without a hearing aid. These people stay out of conversations, sit silently in a group or party, stay isolated and don’t participate in activities fearing that their hearing problem might become visible or make them seem incompetent. Such social isolation leads to loneliness that impacts quality of life. It also increases the risk of depression, stress, poor sleep, irregular eating habits and dementia.
We are facing a rise in the elderly population and the world is moving towards a stage where there are a greater number of elderly people than kids and teenagers. Hence, the risk of dementia is too high and hearing health must be attended to in all populations of people to prevent the risk of dementia due to hearing loss.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.