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Study suggests link between hearing ability and dementia

Study suggests link between hearing ability and dementia
22nd July 2008

People who are less able to hear sounds in a room of competing noises are more likely to suffer from mild memory impairment, according to a new study published in Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

In a sample of 313 individuals, those with mild memory impairment and those who had been diagnosed with dementia scored significantly lower in specially-designed hearing tests than the individuals from the control group, reports Medical News Today.

People who struggle with their hearing in "difficult listening situations", such as in environments with several simultaneous conversations, are said by the researchers to suffer from "central auditory processing dysfunction", the website adds.

According to the report, previous studies have also suggested that people with dementia or Alzheimer's disease often have such a hearing problem.

George Gates from the University of Washington and his colleagues conclude with the recommendation that central auditory testing should be carried out as part of a comprehensive programme for helping individuals with their hearing and their cognitive needs.

Earlier this month, a report in the Edmonton Journal suggested that Alzheimer's patients can go on to lead a more fulfilling life if they receive an early diagnosis of the condition.

It said people are then able to take greater control of their own situation from an earlier stage, including reading up on the condition and joining support groups.

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