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  • The Mobile Hearing Clinic Ltd.

Dementia and Hearing Loss Through the Sound of Music!

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

Dementia, leaf veins, faded
Hearing Loss and Dementia


We've been reading around dementia research this month and have found a couple of things that may be of interest to some of our readers - research from the Lancet and an interesting piece of music that gives a brilliant analogy of the stages experienced through dementia.

The Lancet is the world-leading source of clinical, public, and global health knowledge, ranking first among all general and internal medicine journals globally. Recent research published here has again called for swift action to address those living with hearing loss to help prevent cognitive decline.

As the research piles in, the evidence grows ever stronger to show that wearing hearing aids to address a hearing loss does help reduce cognitive decline and can prevent as much as 8.2% of people developing dementia. Excerpt from the research paper:

Implications of all the available evidence: 'In people with hearing loss, hearing aid use could reduce risk of dementia. With the suggestion that up to 8·2% of dementia cases could be prevented with hearing loss intervention, our findings might have important clinical and public health implications. If causality is established, hearing aids could present a minimally invasive, cost-effective intervention to mitigate all or at least some of the effect of hearing loss on dementia. Moreover, our findings highlight the urgent need to take measures to address hearing loss to improve cognitive decline'. Further information on this research can be found here: Association between hearing aid use and all-cause and cause-specific dementia: an analysis of the UK Biobank cohort - The Lancet Public Health

Ref: [Lancet Public Health 2023; 8: e329–38 Published Online April 13, 2023 S2468-2667(23)00048-8]

Secondly, we read a really interesting article written in Audiology News Magazine.

Through an audio analogy, there is an important piece of work that takes the listener through an emotionally wrenching voyage of dementia.

It can be difficult to explain how dementia may feel to one who hasn’t been directly affected but there is a piece of music that does. Leyland James Kirby – alias ‘The Caretaker’, whose magnum opus – ‘Everywhere At The End Of Time’ – leads the listener on a auditory journey through the emotional, reflective, poetic and utterly disturbing voyage through 6 stages of dementia. This critically acclaimed work uses samples of music with ever degrading levels of clarity and distortion to musically represent the increasing deterioration of the patients’ memories. At six and a half hours long, this artistic interpretation takes the listener on a musical metaphor for the stages of dementia. It illustrates the progression of this dreadful and often terrifying disease through to death (this piece is not for the faint hearted!). It begins with an old dance band song, intact and vibrant - as we all hope our precious memories will remain until the end. As the disease takes hold it begins to slowly rob the sufferer of all that is known and held dear to them and the horror of dementia is played out in this musical analogy progressing from stage to stage - from awareness of the problem to the forming of mists and ‘a confusion so thick you forget forgetting’.

With growing research backing up the links between Hearing Loss and Dementia and the potential benefits of wearing hearing aids to prevent cognitive decline, we all need to ensure that we are looking after our hearing. This means regular Hearing Tests to allow any hearing loss to be addressed as early as possible and for prompt action to be taken when needed.

If you have any concerns about your hearing, then we recommend contacting your GP or private Audiologist for further help and advice.


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