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

New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule

December 11, 2018
Scientists who recently identified the molecular start of Alzheimer's disease have used that finding to determine that it should be possible to forecast which type of dementia will develop over time—a form of personalized ...

Researchers classify Alzheimer's patients in six subgroups

December 5, 2018
Researchers studying Alzheimer's disease have created an approach to classify patients with Alzheimer's disease, a finding that may open the door for personalized treatments.

Neuroscientists pinpoint genes tied to dementia

December 3, 2018
A UCLA-led research team has identified genetic processes involved in the neurodegeneration that occurs in dementia—an important step on the path toward developing therapies that could slow or halt the course of the disease. ...

Detecting signs of neurodegeneration earlier and more accurately

November 30, 2018
Signs of neurodegenerative diseases, appearing years before the emergence of clinical manifestations, can be detected during the examination of medical samples by means of fluorescence microscopy by using new sensitive and ...

Never-before-seen DNA recombination in the brain linked to Alzheimer's disease

November 21, 2018
Scientists from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) have identified gene recombination in neurons that produces thousands of new gene variants within Alzheimer's disease brains. The study, published today ...

New information on the pathological mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease

November 21, 2018
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a mechanism by which harmful tau protein aggregates are transmitted between neurons. Alongside amyloid plaques, tau aggregates in the brain are a significant factor ...

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.