Hearing loss linked to early memory and thinking problems

July 17, 2017, Alzheimer's Research UK

Researchers at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2017 have suggested that people with a family history of Alzheimer's disease who experience hearing loss, are more likely to also experience a decline in their brain function.

The researchers found evidence to suggest a link between hearing loss and , a condition that can precede the onset of . They suggest that diagnosing and treating hearing loss might help to limit the growing impact of Alzheimer's disease.

The Wisconsin-based researchers followed a group of 783 people in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's prevention (WRAP), who have a parental history of Alzheimer's disease, and were periodically tested for their ability to remember, process, and learn information. Over the course of four years, 72 (9.2 percent) participants reported being diagnosed with hearing loss. The group who experienced problems with their hearing were more likely to score significantly lower on cognitive tests and were roughly three times as likely to be assessed as having mild cognitive impairment.

Dr Rosa Sancho, Head of Research at Alzheimer's Research UK, said:

"Dementia and hearing loss often go hand-in-hand. Treating hearing loss can make life easier for people living with dementia, but we don't yet know whether it could help reduce the risk of developing diseases like Alzheimer's in the first place. This study points to hearing loss preceding changes in memory and thinking ability, but doesn't tell us if it could actually be contributing to processes in the brain that cause dementia."

"This is an active and growing area of research that could reveal new approaches for limiting the risk of dementia. With no treatments yet able to stop the progression of dementia, it is crucial that we continue to invest in research into ways we can reduce our risk of the condition. Many people develop some degree of as they get older and anyone with any concerns about this aspect of their health should discuss it with their GP."

Explore further: Less fluent speech could be a sign of early memory problems

Related Stories

Less fluent speech could be a sign of early memory problems

July 17, 2017
Researchers in the US have found that people with very mild memory and thinking problems also show changes in their everyday speech.

Hearing is believing: Speech may be a clue to mental decline

July 17, 2017
Your speech may, um, help reveal if you're uh ... developing thinking problems. More pauses, filler words and other verbal changes might be an early sign of mental decline, which can lead to Alzheimer's disease, a study suggests.

Hearing aids may help keep hearing-impaired older adults mentally sharp

October 19, 2015
Hearing loss is linked with accelerated cognitive decline in older adults, but the use of hearing aids may help safeguard seniors' memory and thinking skills.

Hearing aid use is associated with improved cognitive function in hearing-impaired elderly

April 25, 2016
A study conducted by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) found that older adults who used a hearing aid performed significantly better on cognitive tests than those who did not use a hearing aid, despite ...

Iron deficiency anemia associated with hearing loss

December 29, 2016
In a study published online by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Kathleen M. Schieffer, B.S., of the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pa., and colleagues examined the association between ...

Recommended for you

Energy storehouses in the brain may be source of Alzheimer's, targets of new therapy

January 23, 2018
Alzheimer's disease, a severely debilitating and ultimately fatal brain disorder, affects millions worldwide. To date, clinical efforts to find a cure or adequate treatment have met with dispiriting failure.

Rocky start for Alzheimer's drug research in 2018

January 19, 2018
The year 2018, barely underway, has already dealt a series of disheartening blows to the quest for an Alzheimer's cure.

Alzheimer's disease: Neuronal loss very limited

January 17, 2018
Frequently encountered in the elderly, Alzheimer's is considered a neurodegenerative disease, which means that it is accompanied by a significant, progressive loss of neurons and their nerve endings, or synapses. A joint ...

Anxiety: An early indicator of Alzheimer's disease?

January 12, 2018
A new study suggests an association between elevated amyloid beta levels and the worsening of anxiety symptoms. The findings support the hypothesis that neuropsychiatric symptoms could represent the early manifestation of ...

One of the most promising drugs for Alzheimer's disease fails in clinical trials

January 11, 2018
To the roughly 400 clinical trials that have tested some experimental treatment for Alzheimer's disease and come up short, we can now add three more.

Different disease types associated with distinct amyloid-beta prion strains found in Alzheimer's patients

January 9, 2018
An international team of researchers has found different disease type associations with distinct amyloid-beta prion strains in the brains of dead Alzheimer's patients. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.