Professional News News & media aimed at audiology & hearing professionals, including product reviews, research & treatment technologies.
Frank Lin’s ongoing research at John Hopkins University has shed light on how hearing loss, cognitive functioning, and ageing relate to each other.
Lin shared his public health perspective on hearing loss and ageing at our recent series on Vision 2020: Creating a Future for Hearing Health Care.
In his presentation, Lin explains how hearing loss can contribute to increased cognitive load on the brain, changed brain structure, and social isolation in older adults. Combined, these three health pathways can lead to decreased cognitive and physical functioning in older adults.
Research by Lin and his colleagues have shown how individuals with mild, moderate, and severe hearing loss have an increased risk to develop dementia compared to individuals with normal hearing. Other studies, he explains, have shown that hearing loss in older adults can contribute to increased falls, reduced walking speed, accelerated decline in physical functioning, decreased driving ability, increased odds of hospitalisation, and increased mortality.
Lin contends that linking hearing loss to the broader agenda on healthy ageing has the potential to raise the status of hearing loss among policy makers and health groups.
“As much as we like to think that hearing loss is important, most people consider it as a normal process of ageing,” states Frank Lin
It is super important to understand and approach hearing loss in the context of health ageing and the public health agenda. The Institute of Medicine recently held a workshop on hearing loss and health ageing. This is a great step towards setting the agenda and getting the conversation going about this topic in the United States.
Frank Lin, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology, Geriatic Medicine, Mental Health, and Epidemiology at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. You can read more about his research by visiting his website: www.linresearch.org
Source: IDA Institute
Words: Timothy Cooke