Don’t put off having a hearing exam
(DEBBIE CLASON, HEALTHY HEARING) If you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss but haven’t yet done anything about it, you might want to seek treatment soon.
New research conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison could give you some needed motivation for doing so: left untreated, mild to moderate hearing loss contributes to cognitive decline and may be an early indicator for Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers presented their findings at the 2017 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London, the largest international meeting dedicated to dementia science.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in 10 people in the U.S. over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s dementia, and it is the sixth largest killer in America. In fact, deaths attributed to Alzheimer’s have increased by 89 percent since 2000. The UW-Madison researchers studied correlations between cognitive decline and hearing loss as well as highly stressful life events, changes in everyday speech and residential location.
As part of the study, researchers analyzed data from five years of clinical tests to determine if there was any correlation between hearing loss and mild cognitive impairment. The data came from an ongoing study of more than 1500 middle-aged participants in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP), many of whom are adult children of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Participants in the study, which began in 2001, are tested regularly on cognitive skills and also undergo brain scans, cerebral spinal fluid draws and other testing.