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Hearing Loss May be an Early Sign of Dementia

In some people, gradual hearing loss could be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia.

A new study indicates that the risk of dementia appears to rise as hearing declines. Older people with mild hearing impairment were nearly twice as likely to develop dementia, and severe hearing loss nearly quintuples dementia risk.

CNN reports:

"It's unclear why the loss of hearing and mental function might go hand in hand. Brain abnormalities may contribute independently to both conditions, but it's also possible that hearing problems can help bring on dementia, the researchers say. Hearing loss may lead to social isolation (which itself has been linked to dementia), for instance, or it may interfere with the brain's division of labor."

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