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Hearing Loss In Middle Age Can Lead To Dementia, Study Finds.

Hearing loss during middle age is associated with an increased risk of dementia, according to a study. The study found that hearing protection, screening and treatment can reduce the risk of this cognitive decline to a certain extent.

More than 50 million people are affected by this mental condition worldwide. Since there is no ( effective treatment for the decline in mental ability, prevention is the only way to stay away from it, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The study published in the JAMA Network Open last month tried to find a link between hearing loss and dementia in later years. The research team found that hearing loss is a modifiable ( risk factor for this mental condition.

Previous studies have suggested that nearly two-thirds of dementia risk is genetic or hereditary. But one third of the risk factors, like obesity, hypertension, diabetes, depression and smoking, are modifiable, the research team said.

But a major modifiable risk factor of dementia that accounts for 9 percent is hearing loss. Early identification of it can prevent this mental condition to a certain extent, the research team said.

For the ( study , the research team analyzed the data of 16,270 people who were aged 45 and above. The information was collected from the National Health Insurance Research Database of Taiwan.

They compared the data of 8,135 individuals who were newly diagnosed with hearing loss to 8,135 people with no hearing loss for 10 years between the period 2000 and 2011. The team followed the participants for two years.

Though all the participants were free of dementia at the beginning of the study, around 1,868 people developed dementia over time and 59 percent of them belonged to the hearing loss group.

The researchers found that participants who were diagnosed with hearing problems between 45 and 64 years of age were at higher risk of developing dementia in the coming years. They also found that even mild hearing loss can increase the risk of this cognitive decline. So hearing protection, screening and treatment can reduce the risk of this condition, they said.

"Hearing loss is a potential reversible risk factor for dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. The early identification of hearing loss ... and successful hearing rehabilitation can mitigate the negative effects of hearing loss," lead researcher Charles Tzu-Chi Lee of National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei told ( Reuters.

"The present study suggests that screening for hearing loss should be performed when people are middle aged. However, the ideal time to perform hearing loss screening to reduce the risk of dementia remains unclear, the researcher added.

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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Aug 11, 2019
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