Hearing Loss linked to cognitive decline
- 24 Jan
A new study in the US has shown a link between older people who suffer hearing loss, and the decline of their brain and dementia.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, has suggested that it could be due to changes in the brain as hearing declines, and also the social isolation from not being able to communicate as easily.
The researchers at Johns Hopkins University say that if hearing loss is treated, it could slow down the onset of cognitive decline which can lead to dementia.
The study, following just under 2,000 people in their 70's for six years, showed that result of those with hearing loss had a 24% bigger decline in thinning abilities and declined 40% more quickly.
One of the researchers, Dr Frank Lin, said there were two main theories about how the two could be linked; the first which has been linked previously, is becoming socially withdrawn from hearing loss can lead to cognitive decline. The second is the idea that as the hearing declines, the brain has to work harder to interpret information and therefore is not being used for other functions.
This is a large, long-term, well-conducted study, which means its results are likely to be reliable. There are many reasons why older people with hearing problems may also experience a decline in their thinking abilities. However, even though there is definitely a link, iit does not show that hearing loss causes these problems. We don't know from the study whether hearing aids can help reduce the chances of thinking problems for people with hearing loss.
Many older people have hearing loss, but this does not mean they will get problems with thinking and memory, although these difficulties are also common in older people. People with hearing loss may find it harder to concentrate because they cannot hear easily, or may feel isolated. These things can make it harder to think properly.
Dr Lin said:
The major public health question is if we treat hearing loss can we delay cognitive decline or dementia? That's what we all care about, but the answer is we just don't know.
Dr Eric Karran, from the charity Alzheimer's Research UK, said the exact connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline was still unknown:
Potential social isolation caused by hearing impairment is a more likely explanation for this link than there being a shared disease process, although this needs further investigation, this will be an interesting area to study further. Many people find their hearing becomes worse as they get older, and age is also the biggest risk factor for dementia.
Understanding whether the two are directly linked could give important insight into the condition, but more research will be needed to fully answer this question.
Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1032418
- 11 Sep
People in Bedfordshire can find mental health support through an audio guide
The guides have been written by clinical psychologists and are available to download in print or listen to as an audio file, reports Bedfordshire News.Dr Judy Baxter, Clinical Director with BCCG and...
- 10 Sep
Police officers in Dorset to receive mental health training
The partnership with the University comes as part of the county’s Mental Health Street Triage Project. It is hoped to equip officers with improved knowledge and skills to assess members of the...
- 09 Sep
People in Peterborough can refer themselves for mental health services
Through a drive to offer support to more people and ease pressure on doctors, people living in Peterborough can self-refer themselves to mental health services, reports Peterborough Today.Dr Adrian...
- 08 Sep
The first mental health centre for men
The site has been set up by Alex Eaton, whose dad took his own life and has suffered with mental health problems himself, in Burton upon Trent, reports BBC Newsbeat.Mr Eaton said: "We are the only...
- 07 Sep
NHS trust told no mental health beds available
Dr Bohdan Solomka has said that on Sunday a lack of beds were applied across the NHS and among private providers, reports the BBC. The director of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trusts...
- 07 Sep
Over 16,000 mental health referrals for young people have been rejected
Between July last year and June this year, data from the NHS has found that Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services rejected 5,396 referrals, reports STV News.Over the last three years 16,565...
- 04 Sep
New mental health centre to open in Ardwick
Plans to build a new £6m treatment and recovery centre in Manchester have been revealed. It will be built in Ardwick and be run by Alternative Futures Group, reports the Manchester Evening...
- 03 Sep
Research finds more chance of re-offending if mental health issues are present
Research has found that ex-prisoners with mental health problems and drug and alcohol misuse are more likely to commit violent offences after release than other former prisoners, reports the...
- 02 Sep
Drop in the number of people with mental health issues held in cells
Recent figures have found that the Crisis Care Concordat has seen over 10,000 people receive care from mental health nurses with the support from police officers, reports the Burton Mail.Figures have...
- 02 Sep
Mental health social work scheme accepting applications
100 places are now available for applicants who have a 2:1 or above undergraduate degree and can demonstrate attributes such as resilience and empathy, reports Community Care.The Think Ahead...
Responding to the DWP Consultation: Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing "I found the event informative and timely it helped me to complete our response to DWP without which I would have struggled." S.S. - Safe House