A lot changes as we age, both for better and for worse. We become wiser; we create memories with our loved ones, like taking walks around the Lagoon Greenway; we develop wrinkles around our eyes after years of laughter, and maybe we lose some of our hearing and eyesight. While these changes are normal, some can have long-term effects on our well-being.
A recent study has found that for people with both hearing and vision loss, the risk of dementia doubles. This is why it’s important to seek intervention early.
About the Study
The research study involved 6,520 participants ranging from ages 58 to 101. Researchers gathered data through self-report questionnaires as well as cognitive testing every two years for a total of six years.
Participants ranked their hearing and vision abilities on the following scale: normal, reduced but able to function with hearing aids or glasses, reduced and unable to function with hearing aids or glasses, and no hearing/sight at all.
The study was published in the journal Neurology in April of this year.
At the beginning of the study, researchers found that:
- 932 participants had normal hearing and vision, of which only 2.3% had dementia.
- 2,957 participants had either hearing or vision loss, of which only 2.4% had dementia.
- 2,631 participants had both hearing and vision loss, of which 8% had dementia.
Six-year follow-up results revealed that 245 more people developed dementia, which is broken down as follows:
- 14 of 737 participants with normal hearing and vision developed dementia.
- 69 of the 2,396 people with either hearing or vision loss developed dementia.
- 146 of the 1,964 people with both hearing and vision loss developed dementia.
These results indicate that dementia is over twice as common among those with dual sensory impairment than those with single or no sensory impairment.
According to study authors, “Our results suggest that coexisting visual and hearing impairments facilitate dementia prevalence, dementia incidence, and cognitive decline.” While it is unclear exactly how these conditions are linked, this study emphasizes the need for early intervention of both hearing and vision loss. For more information or to schedule an appointment with an expert audiologist, call Aaron’s Hearing Aid & Audiology Center today.