The findings of a study from the Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention and care was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) in London this week.
There are estimated to be 47 million people worldwide living with dementia. By 2050, 131 million people could be living with the condition.
The report says lifestyle factors can play a major role in increasing or reducing an individual's dementia risk.
These modifiable risk factors add up to 35%; the remaining 65% of dementia risk is beyond the individual's control.
The researchers say hearing loss in middle age can deny people a cognitively rich environment and lead to social isolation and depression, which are among other modifiable risk factors for dementia.
Lead author of the research, Professor Gill Livingston, from University College London, said: "Although dementia is diagnosed in later life, the brain changes usually begin to develop years before.
"Acting now will vastly improve life for people with dementia and their families and, in doing so, will transform the future of society."
Dr Doug Brown, director of research at Alzheimer's Society, agreed. He said: "Though it's not inevitable, dementia is currently set to be the 21st Century's biggest killer. We all need to be aware of the risks and start making positive lifestyle changes."
How to prevent hearing loss
Over 11 million people in the UK suffer from some form of hearing loss, and around 6.7 million of this group could benefit from regularly wearing hearing aids.
As is the case in most circumstances, prevention is better than cure; you can help to prevent hearing loss and damage by being mindful of your exposure to loud sounds.
The World Health Organisation has set a safe limit for noise at 85 decibels (dB) – roughly the sound of busy city traffic. You can listen to sound at this level for around eight hours without harming your hearing; as the dB gets higher, the louder the sound and the shorter the period you can listen without damaging your ears.
Even some of the simplest everyday activities are liable to cause noise-induced hearing damage. Blasting a hairdryer, operating a motorised lawnmower or music played through headphones are just some examples of typical sounds ranking at 90dB and above.
It is important to protect your ears and try to limit your exposure to noisy environments, taking care to ensure that higher dB sounds are endured for as little time as possible. Visit our hearing protection page to find out more!
On average, people who experience hearing loss will wait ten years before taking any action.
Considering this latest research; if you believe that you could be experiencing hearing loss, then there’s no time like the present to book a free hearing aid assessment with us!
Here at Sussex Audiology Centre we will perform an in depth hearing test covering the whole frequency range, air conduction, bone conduction and masking.
A common rule of thumb is that for every year you have unaided hearing loss, it will take around one week to rehabilitate to your new hearing solution. Ultimately, though, the type and length of rehabilitation you might need will depend on your unique circumstances.
We will make sure we find the right solution for you and will be with you every step of the way.
We can offer the assessments at all four of our centres and can also arrange home visits if required.
Below is a graphic that shows you just how easily you could be damaging your hearing: