Today’s blog makes for a rare good news/bad news/good news blog. The first good news is that more of us are living longer than ever. Let’s toast to that!
The bad news is, as our population increasingly ages, the rates of dementia increase right alongside. The World Health Organization (WHO) has the number of people currently living with dementia at 50 million — but projects that will triple by 2050.
And while that is definitely bad news, there’s hope! As we’ve written about in a previous blog (before the study was updated in 2020), the Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care found that 12 risk factors in life — if modified — may help delay or prevent 40 percent of dementia cases.
One of those risk factors is hearing loss. In fact, it’s the risk factor that is the highest contributor to their risk reduction model. The commission recommends treating hearing loss during midlife (between 45 and 65 years of age) as the way to modify the risk, and encourages "the use of hearing aids for hearing loss.”
This good news is seconded by a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society which found that hearing aid use in adults 50 and older who have hearing loss seemed to positively effect the trajectory of cognitive decline, and concluded that providing hearing aids earlier to people with hearing impairment “may stem the worldwide rise of dementia.”
If you’re one of those people who like to be proactive about your health and aging — and you’re starting to experience hearing loss — today’s fact is reason enough to reach out to learn more.