vision and hearing loss linked to cognitive decline

An article by Jane E Brody of the New York Times in 2017 reported on recent research which has linked both vision and hearing loss to cognitive decline.

She wrote:

A growing number of studies have linked compromised sensory functions like poor vision and hearing to a decline in cognitive abilities. The brain, it seems, can do only so much, and when it must struggle to make sense of the world – from reading the words on a page to understanding the spoken word – it may be less able to perform other important tasks.

While a cause-and-effect relationship has yet to be established, the evidence is gradually increasing to suggest that uncorrected deficits in vision and hearing can accelerate cognitive decline.

National statistics demonstrate the importance of this relationship. The number of Americans with poor vision, often undetected among older adults, is expected to double by 2050; hearing loss – mostly untreated or undertreated – afflicts nearly two-thirds of adults over 70; both vision and hearing impairment occurs in one person in nine age 80 and older (fewer than one in five have neither), and the prevalence of dementia is now doubling every 20 years.

To read the article in full, click here.