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Deafness 'could contribute to dementia'

Deafness 'could contribute to dementia'
4th December 2012

Loss of hearing could be associated with a decline in cognitive function as people age, according to Professor David McAlpine, director of the University College London Ear Institute.

Writing for the BBC, Professor McAlpine said it is not currently clear whether hearing loss is truly a cause of cognitive decline, or if it is merely a risk factor related to the brain getting older.

Whatever the case, the loss of cognitive abilities will "explode" health and social care financial models in the western world over the coming years and is in need of urgent attention, he stated.

However, a recent study on the cognitive capabilities of people in their 60s, carried out by the Centre on Ageing and Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, revealed that participants with greater hearing loss performed worse on standard cognition tests.

This result was recorded after adjustments were made for traditional factors associated with performing cognitive tasks, such as education and socio-economic background.

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