The importance of hearing in staving off dementia
Specsavers, which has branches in Ellon and Inverurie, is highlighting the importance of hearing tests this Alzheimer’s month.
Research shows that untreated hearing loss is one of the biggest risk factors when it comes to developing dementia,
Ian Mclellan, audiologist at Specsavers in Inverurie and Ellon, said: “Hearing loss has similar symptoms to early signs of dementia, with people often struggling to communicate. This is why hearing tests are really important in helping to determine what is really going on.”
In fact, studies have found that there is a link between dementia and difficulty in hearing speech in a busy environment and also show that hearing loss can cause cognitive decline which can lead to dementia – with people with moderate to severe hearing loss up to five times more likely to develop the condition.
For those who also have a visual impairment as well as hearing loss, studies show they are nearly twice as likely to develop dementia than those without.
This is because the decline in senses could increase social isolation and place strain on the parts of the brain which are required for good cognitive function.
Ian adds: “Studies also suggest that those with hearing loss lose more brain tissue than those without – particularly in the parts of the brain which are responsible for processing sound and speech.
"However, while hearing loss can often be a result of age, research shows the increased risk of dementia was not found in those using hearing aids.
"Furthermore, another study looking into those with hearing impairments found that hearing aids could actually help delay dementia onset by five years.
“This is why regular hearing tests are so important in helping to reduce the risk. The earlier any problems are identified, the sooner protective measures like hearing aids can be introduced.”
In its continued commitment to the community, Specsavers also provides comprehensive training, run by the Alzheimer’s Society, to ensure that in-store colleagues are equipped and confident to support any customers who may have dementia.
For more details about hearing loss and dementia visit www.specsavers.co.uk