Another modifiable risk factor for cognitive decline

Listen up, especially if you’re one of the millions of people who has lost some of your hearing function, and especially, if, like millions of you with proven hearing loss, especially those of you of the male persuasion, you adamantly deny that you can’t hear as well as you think you do: Your hearing loss, whether you want to admit to it or not, increases your risk of cognitive decline.

In this study, researchers used data from the huge data base of the United Kingdom Biobank.

Participants in the study were all older Britons who were deemed to be cognitively normal at baseline (no easy jokes there) and they were followed for 10 years or more, and then their health records were assessed for the development of dementia.

Results were pretty stark: Poor hearing was linked to a 61% increase in dementia and insufficient hearing was linked to a 91% increase.

The one caveat is this: As the researchers admit, it’s very hard to be sure which is the cart and which is the horse, that is, it’s always hard to tell if hearing loss preceded the onset of dementia or vice versa, although the researchers claim that it’s much more likely to be the former, that is, that hearing loss is a brain function and any loss of brain function can lead to a higher risk of dementia.

IF you can’t hear well, start with admitting it, then check it out, then treat it: Your brain will likely be much happier as a result, not to mention the people around you, too.