Study in Singapore links hearing loss to dementia


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A study carried out locally in Singapore has found that elderly people who lose their hearing are 2.3 times more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment or dementia.

According to the authors of the study, these findings are particularly important because more than 60% of Singaporeans over 60 years of age experience some form of hearing loss. The study was conducted in collaboration with the National University of Singapore and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, a large establishment located in Jurong East. The research is part of the long-term Singapore Longitudinal Ageing Study.

The Straits Times reports that the study included over 1,500 Singaporeans, 55 years of age and above. The participants went through two rounds of cognitive and clinical assessments at regular intervals of about three years. They had normal memory and thinking skills at baseline.

“This is the first longitudinal ageing study in Singapore and Asia that supports emerging evidence around the world that hearing loss is a risk factor for dementia,” Dr Rebecca Heywood, a consultant at the ENT, Head and Neck Surgery Department at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital told The Straits Times. Heywood is the study’s principal otolaryngology researcher. She added that although hearing loss does not cause mental decline or dementia on its own, the results of the study show an association between untreated hearing loss and more rapid cognitive decline.

Source: The Straits Times