Hearing loss is a common and serious disability that can take you out of conversations and put you at risk for depression and isolation. Two recent studies from JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery suggest that hearing loss is also connected to several other conditions. One study of national health surveys, published online Jan. 25, 2018, found that hearing loss was associated with heart failure: 75% of people ages 70 or older with heart failure also had hearing loss. The other study, published online Dec. 7, 2017, evaluated 36 studies that included more than 20,000 people who'd had hearing and cognition tests. Scientists found that age-related hearing loss was significantly associated with a decline in all areas of thinking skills and with developing dementia. These studies were observational, so they don't prove that hearing loss causes thinking problems or heart failure. But they're a reminder of the importance of having hearing loss checked out. The problem can sometimes be resolved without hearing aids if it's being caused by earwax, an ear infection, or an abnormal bone growth.
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