Revealed: Hearing Loss and Dementia

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Introductory Letter From Audiologists Dr. Keith Darrow, Ph.D. & Sherina Samuel, Au.D.

“Everyone knows someone who is a cancer survivor, but no one knows an Alzheimer’s survivor.” – Dr. Bredesen

“Everyone knows someone who is a cancer survivor, but no one knows an Alzheimer’s survivor.” – Dr. Bredesen

Thank you for taking the time to read this report detailing the links of Hearing Loss and Dementia. There are always new reports coming out helping us to better understand the science of Dementia and ways to help us avoid the devastating fate of a Dementia diagnosis. Perhaps the most impressive report we recently read was from a European Dementia commission titled: Dementia Prevention, Intervention, and Care published in the Lancet Journal.

Let’s start by reviewing some of the facts about Dementia. Nearly every 3-4 seconds another individual is diagnosed with Dementia. In the U.S., the average annual cost to care for a loved one with Dementia is approximately $57,000 per year. The Alzheimers Society of Canada estimates the annual cost of Dementia to the Canadian economy and healthcare system is over 10.4 billion dollars. Nearly 50% of all cases of Dementia are Alzheimer’s related. And, there is not a SINGLE drug available on the market approved to treat Alzheimer’s.

Perhaps even more troubling, is that the U.S. government spends nearly 13 times less on Dementia research than on Cancer research. And in case you missed the recent headlines, Pfizer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, has decided to close its Dementia research center.

But, not all news is bad news. In fact, the Lancet report highlighted that nearly 35% of all Dementia cases are considered preventable. Phew! The report even laid out the most important modifiable lifestyle factors that may help each of us prevent Dementia.

And (not surprisingly), the #1, single most modifiable factor that may prevent Dementia is the treatment of hearing loss. Yes, reducing obesity, diabetes, and/or cardiovascular disease are important. It is also important to increase social activity, enhance our education and supplement our nutrition. These can all play a part in helping us to prevent Dementia; but none, even when combined, are nearly as effective as the treatment of hearing loss. We think Dr. Doraiswamy, a Neuropsychologist from Duke University said it best:

“The benefits of correcting hearing loss on cognition are twice as large as the benefits from any cognitive-enhancing drugs now on the market. It should be the first thing we focus on.”

We believe you will find the information in this report helpful when wanting to learn more about your cognitive health and when it comes to choosing the right treatment plan for you. Feel free to call the office to schedule your appointment.


Dr. Keith Darrow, Ph.D.

Sherina Samuel, B.Sc., M.Sc., Au.D.