Connecting the Dots: Hearing Loss and Dementia

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Recent studies have indicated a link between hearing loss and dementia. Approximately 48 million Americans have hearing loss, and most have sensorineural hearing loss in which the hair cells in the inner ear are damaged. About one-third to two-thirds of adults ages 70 and older have hearing loss, but only 15% reportedly get hearing aids. Furthermore, about 7 million people in the US have some form of dementia, and numbers are expected to double every 20 years.[1] Dementia includes many diseases of mental decline with Alzheimer’s disease accounting for 60-80%. More than 5 million Americans are affected by Alzheimer’s, and it is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S.

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