A study from the UK reaffirms that helping seniors with their hearing and sight may slow down dementia.
Researchers from the University of Manchester found the correction of one’s cataracts to decrease their risk of dementia by 50%. If they additionally corrected their hearing with hearing aids, their risk plummeted by 75%.
Study authors looked at participant’s memory and cognitive function and compared them prior to and then after getting cataract surgery or hearing aids.
Dr. Piers Dawes states, “It’s not really certain why hearing and visual problems have an impact on cognitive decline, but I’d guess that isolation, stigma and the resultant lack of physical activity that are linked to hearing and vision problems might have something to do with it.”
Cataracts are a clouding of a person’s lens in the eye, causing decreased vision and, if severe, blindness.
Hearing loss caused by sensorineural loss can be improved when sounds are amplified by hearing aids.
Previous studies have found hearing loss may precede dementia by 5-10 years. Elderly individuals who lose their hearing with age (Presbycusis) may actually be demonstrating early dementia.
If repair of the sight by cataract surgery or hearing loss by hearing aids do not slow down or reverse early cognitive issues, dementia may be suspected.