If you ever thought your grand parent’s growing hearing issues could be related to dementia in the future, you could be on to something. A health expert said that hearing loss can lead to impaired memory and a higher risk of dementia and ensuing Alzheimer's disease in older people.
The World Health Organisation compartmentalises deafness and hearing impairment very clearly. While “deafness” refers to the complete loss of hearing ability in one or both ears, "hearing impairment" refers to both complete and partial loss of hearing ability.
Nearly 360 million people, nearly one-tenth of them children, suffer from hearing loss worldwide.
"Yes, hearing loss can lead to cognitive decline. Our two senses -- vision and hearing -- contribute to our cognitive development. When we are not able to hear well, most of the information that is delivered to us that way is not received properly. This way, less hearing slowly contributes to cognitive decline," Suresh Singh Naruka, Senior Consultant - ENT at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals here, told.
Naruka added saying that it is important to understand the brain development and cognition development and it essentially a slow process. Naruka says intelligence isn’t a static thing; it is a dynamic and continuous process. It may not be visible in a day or two, but over a period of time, one can witness the decline in cognitive behaviour.
Moreover, "while hearing loss can lead to impaired memory and a higher risk of dementia in older people, in children it hampers with the development of speech and brain development", Virender Singh, Consultant - ENT, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, told
Hearing loss in children can hamper the development of speech and the brain. This can lead to shutting the child from worldly sounds, resulting in a disconnect from the social world.
"Early corrective measures in the form of hearing aid, cochlear implant, medications, and corrective surgery should be taken as soon as possible to prevent any complications that arise from hearing loss," Singh suggested.