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Hearing Loss as a Risk Factor for Dementia

In line with The Ivey's wellness approach to dementia care, a recent commission on dementia prevention and intervention identified hearing loss in mid-life, as well as low social contact later in life, as modifiable risk factors for dementia. Interestingly, it has been estimated that one in three cases of dementia might be attributable to nine potentially modifiable risk factors at different stages of life. In other words, if certain risk factors can be altered or eliminated (e.g., reducing hearing loss in mid-life), this might help prevent dementia. The assumption here is that dementia is not an inevitable consequence of aging, and thus, a person's health trajectory might be altered if certain risk factors present earlier in life are eliminated. Conversely, if dementia is viewed as a problem that can only be addressed later in life, many potential pathways to prevention may be missed. You can read about this interesting study and its impact on Hearing Health initiatives HERE.