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Author: WendyBG Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Winner! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 461353  
Subject: Hearing loss correlates w/ dementia Date: 2/11/2013 6:58 PM
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This is on-topic for METAR because hearing loss affects the growing aging population.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/11/straining-to-hear-a...


New York Times, February 11, 2013
Straining to Hear and Fend Off Dementia
By KATHERINE BOUTON

...

“Compared to individuals with normal hearing, those individuals with a mild, moderate, and severe hearing loss, respectively, had a 2-, 3- and 5-fold increased risk of developing dementia over the course of the study,” Dr. Lin wrote in an e-mail summarizing the results. The worse the hearing loss, the greater the risk of developing dementia. The correlation remained true even when age, diabetes and hypertension — other conditions associated with dementia — were ruled out....

Possible explanations for the association: The first is social isolation, which may come with hearing loss, a known risk factor for dementia. Another possibility is cognitive load [the brain is so preoccupied with translating the sounds into words that it seems to have no processing power left to remember and think]. A third is some pathological process that causes both hearing loss and dementia....

Low-frequency loss could be an early indication that a patient has vascular problems: the inner ear is “so sensitive to blood flow” that any vascular abnormalities “could be noted earlier here than in other parts of the body.”...

Forty-eight million Americans suffer from some degree of hearing loss. If it can be proved in a clinical trial that hearing aids help delay or offset dementia, the benefits would be immeasurable....
[end quote]

I found this article to be eye-opening (ear opening?) because it mentions hearing loss and both social and physiological correlations.

I have some high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to loud equipment. The article mentions low-frequency hearing loss. Our local hearing aid company gives free hearing tests.

This data convinces me that hearing loss could have serious causes and serious consequences.

Investors may be interested in companies that produce hearing aids. However, they are expensive and usually not covered by health insurance or Medicare. Many people can't afford them.

Wendy
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