Momentum is building, highlights journalist Iain Robertson, from a steady flow of medical and psychological information being drip-fed into public consciousness about dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease and the impact of hearing loss.
We live in a world seemingly under endless and often confusing critical assault. As a result, it is little wonder that some of the more important findings become lost in a maelstrom of misinformation. However, personal health is not something that can be dealt with by membership of a local gymnasium.
A shard of light is appearing. Like a game of consequences, we are spending significantly less time on our mental wellbeing than we are on the physical aspects. In a study carried out by the University of Exeter, a value of £63.85 was spent on eight hours and 38 minutes of an average person’s month attending a health club, cycling, or swimming. In contrast, a mere £29.94 and three hours and 53 minutes was invested in activities designed to improve mental wellbeing, such as meditation, life-coaching, or going for a walk in a natural environment.
The stated problem is that more than 27% of respondents to the University survey admitted that they did not know how to improve their mental health. Of course, we can lay blame at the cultural door of prioritising physicality over mentality. Yet, 2017 has been a revelatory year in many respects, with mental health issues being walked out of a metaphorical cupboard. As the survey underscores, regardless of the impact of social media, the superficial benefits of enhanced physical appearance also carry bragging rights that mental acuity does not. Unfortunately, this bias has further reaching implications for the future.
Returning to nature, from our increasingly urbanised world, may provide a solution, which makes the recent statements carried in the Daily Mail newspaper (Rosie Taylor; 4th December 2017) more relevant. “Next time you reach for the volume button on the remote control, consider booking a hearing test”, may have been the final line in the piece but it is also one of the most telling.
The informative story highlights that up-to-a-third of over-55s in the UK are believed to have some form of hearing loss. This is linked to one-in-ten cases of dementia, according to scientific research, of which at least one case could be prevented by prescribing early hearing loss. The Alzheimer’s Society is involved in an intensive, £600,000 study, of more than a dozen similar, that already recognises the high risk factor of hearing loss and the accelerated rate of dementia in some patients, and its findings have already been declared in the pages of The Lancet.
While around 2% of dementia cases can be attributed to high blood pressure and 1% linked to obesity, hearing loss is a contributory factor in more than 9% of cases. It warrants the close studies. While the link between hearing loss and dementia prevention remains both anecdotal and theoretical, there are enough complementary conditions, such as social withdrawal and isolation, auditory cortex shrinkage, as well as the normal aging process that serve to confirm the opinions of the scientific community.
As a nation, we need to start treating hearing loss with the same seriousness as sight reduction, or dental care. These are three of the most important of our five senses and, by ensuring that their states are maintained at the highest operational level, it is with more than a degree of confidence that early onset dementia, let alone other diminishing health conditions, can be held at arm’s length, rather than allowing them to subsume human frailty.
For expert professional advice it’s recommended that you see a hearing aid audiologist. They can help you find the right hearing aid. Anyone aged over 55 should have their hearing checked each year. Remember, modern hearing aids will not just help you communicate better, they can boost your confidence and eliminate those embarrassing situations when you have misheard something.
Book your free hearing test by clicking your location on the map below.