“Hearing loss in midlife is a significant risk factor for dementia, and it’s the largest modifiable cause,” says Topps. “I mean, it’s easy to fix. You get an earphone.” Research backs up the claim: A 2020 Lancet Commission report lists hearing loss as One of the most important risk factors for dementia3However, it is noted that the use of hearing aids appears to reduce the excess risk.
“If people are hearing impaired now, please get it checked out early,” says Topps. You may think hearing loss is a normal part of aging, and to some extent it may be, but “if you’re not hearing properly, you’re not getting that input in your brain all the time,” adds Topps. “As people get older, they need to be aware of that.”