The dementia warning sign… in your EARS

When it comes down to it, it might not SEEM like that big of a deal.

Not when you compare it to heart disease, stroke, cancer, and all of the other “big risks” of aging.

But hearing loss IS a big deal, because it can lead to everything from quality-of-life issues (when you can’t figure out what’s going on) to safety issues (when you’re driving or even just walking).

Now, new research confirms an even bigger risk of hearing loss.

You could face dementia!

The study finds that older people who lose their hearing are much more likely to suffer from dementia.

The link is so clear that the new report calls it one of the biggest modifiable risk factors for dementia.

Notice the key word in there?

“Modifiable.”

Yes. You CAN take charge of hearing loss – even if you’ve already experienced some of it. And I’ll tell you just what to do in a moment.

First, the new study names a slew of risk factors.

Some are beyond your control, like the APOE-4 genetic mutation that can mean you’re facing a higher risk of dementia.

Some are within your control, like your weight. You already know that you need to watch your waistline -- not just to prevent dementia, but also to cut your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and more.

Hearing loss as a dementia risk factor, on the other hand, probably comes as a surprise to many people.

But it makes perfect sense: The part of your brain you rely on to turn what you hear into thoughts and generate a response is needed for other functions, too.

When it stops getting that workout, it can go dark – and you can suffer cognitive problems.

Many people with hearing loss also withdraw socially, another major dementia risk factor.

But you don’t have to live with it.

First, if it’s early enough, you can slow or even stop hearing loss with the help of good nutrition and supplements that can enhance circulation in and around the ear. Ginkgo biloba and/or vinpocetine may help, depending on the cause of your hearing loss.

And second, don’t fall into denial.

Just like with vision problems, some older folks won’t get help because they refuse to admit that there’s a problem.

If you have signs of hearing loss… if people keep asking why the TV is so loud… or if you find yourself saying “huh?” a lot… you may need some help.

Hearing aids are smaller and less intrusive than ever, and they’re rapidly dropping in price -- especially at big-box stores and warehouse clubs.

One quick trip to get tested and fitted can vastly improve your quality of life. And as the new study shows, it just might protect you from dementia, too.