Hearing loss and diabetes are major public health problems, with Hispanic/Latinos at especially high risk. In a new study, researchers in California report that hearing loss and high blood sugar are linked to poorer learning and memory in middle-aged and older Latinos. For example, in people with hearing loss, high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) may damage a part of the brain that is important for learning and memory. Over 9,000 Latinos ages 45 to 74 years received hearing, cardiovascular, diabetes, and mental exams. Participants included Central Americans, Cubans, Dominicans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and South Americans living in the Bronx, Chicago, Miami, and San Diego. Many participants with hearing loss also had reduced mental abilities, from mild memory loss to more severe problems, like Alzheimer’s Disease. These findings suggest that using a hearing aid may protect against mental declines in people with hearing loss. However, very few (less than 5 percent) Latinos with hearing loss use hearing aids. This is something we can change to help prevent mental declines, but it requires education and awareness for healthcare providers and patients. If hearing loss were eliminated, dementia would drop by 8 percent globally. Dementia refers to the loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities, such as Alzheimers.

Source: https://bit.ly/35lIKxH

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