Dementia and Hearing Loss – What you should know
What is Hearing Loss?
If you or someone you know is experiencing a loss of hearing, you are not alone. It is estimated that 10 million people in the UK are affected by the effects of hearing loss – that’s 1 in 6 people.
There are many factors that can cause the onset of hearing loss. Two of the more common causes are age-related and noise-induced hearing loss.
As well as having an effect on the lives of the person experiencing hearing loss and those around them, hearing loss can also have an effect on your wider health and well-being.
Hearing loss has been linked to other health conditions such as
- Heart Disease
It is important to get your hearing checked as part of a general health check up to ensure your health is in the best condition it can be.
By seeking help, you can benefit from professional guidance. In some instances, using assistive listening devices (such as hearing aids) can help you benefit from clearer hearing and be able to join the conversation again.
Not sure how to ask for help if you’re experiencing hearing loss? Hidden Hearing’s Medical Advisor Dr Hilary Jones explains the importance of getting your hearing tested and how to deal with hearing loss.
What is dementia?
The term dementia is an umbrella term that describes a group of symptoms. These symptoms can include: memory loss, mood swings and confusion.
There are many different diseases that can cause dementia. One of these is Alzheimer’s disease – one of the more common causes of the condition.
It is estimated that there are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK (according to Alzheimer’s Research UK), however, not everyone with dementia has had a formal diagnosis.
For more information about dementia, you can watch Christopher Eccleston talk on behalf of Alzheimer’s Research UK about the physical nature of Alzheimer’s and the effect the disease has on the brain,
Dementia is wide spread and impacts not only those experiencing the condition but also friends and family.
Alzheimer’s Research UK works tirelessly to fund and deliver leading research into dementia with a mission to bring about the first life-changing dementia treatment by 2025.
As the UK’s leading dementia research charity, they have an army of supporters that raise money for this work.
Getting an early and accurate diagnosis is important for enabling people to access any help that may be needed.
- Dementia is not a disease but is a term to describe the symptoms that occur when brain cells stop working properly, including; memory loss, frustration and difficulty with day to day tasks
- Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia
- There are treatments available to help minimise the symptoms but there is no current cure
- Dementia usually affects people over 65, but in rarer cases it can affect younger people. This is called ‘early onset dementia’.
What are the preventable factors that can increase the risk of dementia?
According to a study published in the Lancet, there are nine key risk factors that could contribute to an increased risk of dementia in later life. It’s estimated that if these could be completely eliminated, the number of people developing dementia could potentially be reduced by 35%. These risk factors include;
– Mid-life hearing loss (estimated to account for 9% of the risk)
– Failing to complete secondary education (8%)
– Smoking (5%)
– Depression (4%)
– Physical inactivity (3%)
– Social Isolation (2%)
– High blood pressure (2%)
– Obesity (1%)
– Type 2 diabetes (1%)
These risks are modifiable because they could potentially be changed. The other 65% of the risk factors associated with dementia are seen as “non-modifiable”, and include age and genetic make-up.
What is the link between dementia and Hearing Loss?
Although research in the area is still developing and emerging, according to the Lancet Commission report (published in July 2017) there is scope to believe that hearing loss and dementia are in some way linked.
However, it is not yet known what that link is.
Dr Laura Phipps from Alzheimer’s Research UK stated, “We are now beginning to see more focus on the emerging link between dementia risk and hearing loss. There has been comparatively little research into this link to date compared to factors like exercise and diet, which is why Alzheimer’s Research UK is investing in research to advance our understanding in this area. The Lancet Commission report highlighted that because hearing loss is so wide spread, it may have more of an impact on the overall number of dementia cases, so it’s important to explore this link further.”
Alzheimer’s Research UK and Hidden Hearing.
Hidden Hearing are passionate and work tirelessly to enhance lives.
By providing the latest hearing technology to those who experience hearing loss, including the revolutionary hearing aid Oticon Opn.
Oticon Opn and its technology support the notion that people hear with their brain, not their ears. Supporting the brain could help relieve cognitive decline.
Hidden Hearing’s passion for helping people live the life they want with the hearing they have, as well as the emerging research involving the link between dementia and hearing loss, has led the organisation to partner with Alzheimer’s Research UK.
As a company, Hidden Hearing and its employees are raising money for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Whether it’s half marathons, quizzes or even sky dives, staff at Hidden Hearing are raising vital funds across the UK.
But what is the research project?
Hidden Hearing is helping Alzheimer’s Research UK in their work by supporting a ground-breaking research project studying dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), a rare form of dementia which causes a range of distressing symptoms, including visual and auditory hallucinations.
The research project, carried out at the University of Newcastle, uses sophisticated brain imaging techniques to measure the changes in the brain driven by DLB.
Dr Laura Phipps of Alzheimer’s Research UK said;
“The brain plays a vital role in good hearing, and difficulties with hearing may be linked to different types of dementia. While it’s not yet clear what’s behind the link, Hidden Hearing is helping Alzheimer’s Research UK to support ground-breaking research to explore the reasons behind this link and offer vital understanding about the condition”.
Claire Foster, Marketing Director at Hidden Hearing adds;
“At Hidden Hearing, we’re proud to be partnering with Alzheimer’s Research UK to launch vital research. We now know there are key risk factors for developing dementia and hearing loss is one of them. It may be that treating hearing loss early on could have an impact on dementia rates, and we’re thrilled to be supporting such valuable research to enhance our understanding of this link”.
As well as raising money for the Alzheimer’s Research UK cause through a wide range of activities including half marathons and sky dives, all staff at Hidden Hearing are getting involved. As part of the partnership, staff at Hidden Hearing will be benefitting from Dementia awareness training to help understand the needs of someone experiencing the condition.
Feel you might be experiencing hearing loss and want to seek help with a qualified and professional Hearing Aid Audiologist? Don’t delay, book a free hearing assessment with Hidden Hearing and see if you could benefit from clearer hearing.