Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hearing loss may be an early sign of dementia

Gradual hearing loss is a common symptom of aging, but in some people it may also be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia, a new study suggests.

The risk of dementia appears to rise as hearing declines. Older people with mild hearing impairment -- those who have difficulty following a conversation in a crowded restaurant, say -- were nearly twice as likely as those with normal hearing to develop dementia, the study found. Severe hearing loss nearly quintupled the risk of dementia.

Health.com: 25 signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease

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