Hearing Loss and Vision Impairment Increases Dementia Risk, Study Finds

Oct, 2020 - By SMI

Hearing Loss and Vision Impairment Increases Dementia Risk, Study Finds

Researchers suggest that risk of dementia is very high if an individual has both hearing loss and vision impairment. The risk is said to increase by almost 86% in such individuals.

Dementia refers to a condition which causes weakening of memory behavior, thinking, and the inability to carry out daily chores and activities. According to the World Health Organisation, as many as 50 million people suffer from dementia, and around 10 million new cases are reported every year. In a recent study, researchers have demonstrated that individuals with hearing as well as vision impairment are at a significantly high risk of developing dementia. The findings demonstrated an 86% risk in individuals with both these conditions. The study showed that around 32% of the individuals in the age group of 70 and above suffer from hearing impairment, and 18% suffer vision loss. Age plays a very important role in the worsening of such conditions, therefore the researchers suggest a correlation between the advancement of these conditions, deterioration of cognitive function, and mortality.

The team analysed data from a double blind randomized-controlled study (GEM) which investigated the role of Ginko Biloba (a food native to China) in preventing dementia in adults in the age group of 75 and older with mild dementia symptoms at the onset of the research study. The individuals were assessed for a period of 8 years. The assessment included self-reported data related to the participants' vision and hearing, and follow-up of dementia progression. In the final dataset, over 2000 individuals were assessed, out of which around 1500 individuals developed neither hearing nor vision loss. Nearly 15% of the participants suffered vision impairment, nearly 8% suffered hearing loss, and 5% suffered from both.

Participants with both conditions were likelier to be male, compared to participants with one of the two conditions. Moreover, participants with both conditions tended to smoke and drink, and had other conditions. The follow-up revealed that people with hearing and visual impairment were at a twofold risk of developing dementia compared to those without such impairments.

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