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Hearing loss may be a sign of Alzheimer's

A study found that gradual hearing loss may be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease or dementia in some people.

February 15, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Gradual hearing loss may be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease or dementia in some people.

A study by Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland found elderly people with mild hearing loss were nearly twice as likely as those with normal hearing to develop Alzheimer's or other dementia.

Severe hearing loss resulted in a risk that was five times greater. Researchers say a loss of hearing may bring social isolation, which has also been linked to dementia.

The lead researcher says the brain may have to reallocate brain power to deal with hearing loss at the expense of mental function.