I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes five years ago, and I've had to make considerable changes to my lifestyle to maintain my health since I was diagnosed. I started this blog to share my experience of coming to terms with having type 2 diabetes and what I've learned on my personal journey. I share details of the lifestyle changes I've made, including giving up smoking and eating more wholefoods, and my personal experience of using alternative treatments, such as acupuncture and herbal medicine. I also post about new treatments that are becoming available for type 2 diabetes. I hope you find my blog useful and informative.
Dementia is a growing problem in Australia. The leading cause of disability in over 65s, dementia already afflicts over 400,000 people, and that number is expected to grow to almost 600,000 in just 10 years. While researchers have not yet found a cure for this disease, each year they uncover more and more ways people can reduce their risk of developing it. One such preventative tip is regular hearing tests.
What Does Hearing Have to Do with Dementia?
In 2017, a leading medical journal called The Lancet published an eye-opening new report that identified nine lifestyle factors that could increase the risk of developing dementia. Among problems like smoking and physical inactivity, the highest risk factor on the list was hearing loss in mid-life. The researchers said that if people worked to tackle risk factors like hearing loss, one in three cases of dementia could be prevented.
How Exactly Does Hearing Loss Lead to Dementia?
Since dementia is such a complex disease, scientists are yet to uncover the exact cause-and-effect that puts people with hearing loss at greater risk of developing dementia. However, there are studies that have indicated some possibilities. One such possible cause is that the communication difficulties people with hearing loss face lead to social isolation. In turn, social isolation and loneliness have been linked to an increased risk of dementia. Other possible causes relate to the brain directly. For example, hearing loss can actually cause the brain to shrink faster than normal. Another very plausible theory is that when you have to strain to hear sounds, you're taking brain power away from important functions like memory, which can lead to brain function decline like dementia.
Why Do You Need Regular Hearing Tests?
While this information may be worrying, the good thing is that the effects of hearing loss are often preventable with regular hearing tests. If you have tests often enough, your doctor will quickly be able to spot any signs of problems with hearing before they can develop into a more serious condition that isolates you or causes you to strain. Once you know you have a problem, you can begin to solve it. Hearing aids are a great way to make the effects of hearing loss negligible. With many types of hearing loss, you may even be able to start a treatment plan that will stop your mild hearing loss from getting any worse. On top of that, your doctor will be able to advise you on lifestyle factors that may be causing or worsening your hearing loss, further helping you prevent more damage—and, in turn, prevent dementia.Share