IN December 2020, the Hearing Care Industry Association (HCIA) commissioned Mark Laureyns of the Thomas More University College in Antwerp, to write a paper examining the rapidly evolving research linking the treatment of midlife hearing loss and the prevention of dementia in later life.
In doing this, Mark had the brief to only utilise research that had appeared in peer reviewed journals over the past 4 years.
Dementia, Hearing Loss and Hearing Care: Saving Australia’s Minds provides compelling, peer-reviewed evidence for early hearing care intervention to prevent dementia.A key finding of the latest research finds that hearing loss in mid-life is the largest modifiable risk factor for age-related dementia.
Dementia is the second leading cause of death amongst Australians and the leading cause of death amongst Australian women. The Aged Care Royal Commission, whose report was released on Monday, made 148 recommendations. Of those, 14 related to dementia. With an ageing population and increasing costs of providing aged care, now is the time to seize the opportunity for a preventative hearing health strategy that will address the link between age-related hearing loss and dementia.
The HCIA invites you to consider the research in this new and rapidly evolving area. Far from being a trivial irritation, hearing loss and its early treatment would prevent more dementia at a population level than addressing traumatic brain injury, hypertension, alcohol abuse, diabetes and obesity combined.
As something that is yet to be widely acknowledged amongst policy makers globally, the opportunity for policy innovation in this area is great and the positive impact on the future lives of Australians substantial.