A 3 years study conducted by the National University of Singapore and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital have found that hearing loss is a risk factor for dementia. Elderlies (60 years, and above) who suffers from hearing impairment are 2.3 times more likely to develop dementia.
Dr Rebecca Heywood, ENT consultant in the study listed a few theories,
1. For patients with hearing loss, more effort is required to hear degraded sound hence there are less brain resources for thinking and memory.
2. The hearing areas in our brain are involved in memory, hence hearing loss leads to underused and decline in memory function.
3. Difficulty in communication increases risk of social isolation, which is one of the main factors for dementia.
Associate Professor Ng Tze Pin from the department of psychological medicine (NUS) stated that early diagnosis and intervention for hearing loss could potentially delay dementia.
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