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Health Tip: Hearing Loss May Affect Brain Health

(HealthDay News) -- About a third of people aged 65 to 74 are affected by hearing loss, as are about half of those 75 and older, the U.S. National Institute on Aging says.

Aside from missing out on spirited conversation, hearing loss can affect the health of your brain, the agency says.

A 2011 study funded by the NIA found that older adults with hearing loss were more likely to develop dementia than older adults with normal hearing.

The degree of hearing loss was directly related to the increase in dementia risk. Mild hearing loss was associated with a two-fold increase, moderate loss with a three-fold increase, and severe hearing loss with a five-fold increase in dementia risk.

And it appears memory isn't the only brain function affected. A more recent study found that concentration declined faster in older adults with hearing loss, as compared to older adults with normal hearing.

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