‘I’m a doctor – here’s a surprising risk factor that could lead to dementia’

What is dementia?

A doctor has revealed a surprising risk factor that could be associated with a higher risk of dementia.

From drinking too much alcohol to an unhealthy diet, research has linked many poor lifestyle choices to the mind-robbing condition.

However, Dr Adam Moreton,from Pall Mall Medical, is now advising middle-aged Brits to avoid excessive loud noise and lower the volume on their headphones if they want to reduce their risk of dementia.

Those who are already struggling with their hearing, should consider wearing auditory aids to help protect their brains against the chance of memory problems in later life, according to the expert.

Dr Moreton revealed there is a link between struggling to hear and developing a loss of cognitive functioning.

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He said: “I think that after getting your blood pressure checked and treated, number two on the list of simple things you should do in your middle years to prevent your future risk of dementia is to protect your hearing by avoiding excessive noise exposure.

“Ensure your headphones aren’t too loud because sensory impairment or loss of hearing does contribute to your risk of developing the condition.”

The doctor explained that hearing is “really underestimated” but it’s a “key part” of dementia prevention.

Dr Moreton said: “Simply put, not hearing properly causes unnecessary confusion which over time can impact your understanding and your thinking processes.”

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However, most of the problem arises from the ripple effect of sensory impairment, according to the expert.         

He said: “Most important is the consequence of not hearing during your social interactions. If you can’t communicate well with people because you can’t hear them, they’re probably not going to talk to you quite as much, making exchanges harder. 

“You might be less inclined to start up conversations yourself. All these things will increase your chances of becoming isolated from other people.”

This is worrying because lack of social contact and loneliness have been previously linked to a higher risk of dementia.

The doctor explained that social isolation results in a loss of important daily cognitive stimulation, which has a knock-on effect on your risk of the mind-robbing condition.

The doctor added: “Hearing is so important, so protect it before you lose it. And if you are losing it, you might need to suck up your pride and get some hearing aids to help maintain what you’ve got for as long as possible. 

“In some cases, you might even find that your so-called memory problem was purely down to poor hearing and is completely reversible.

“For the rest of you, protecting your hearing as best as possible is still crucially important.”

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