The best way to lower your dementia risk

Tara Parker-Pope in The Washington Post:

There are many good reasons to take care of your hearing — from the sound of birds chirping to being able to carry on a conversation in a restaurant. But the best reason to take care of your hearing is to take care of your brain. Hearing loss in middle age — ages 45 to 65 — is the most significant risk factor for dementia, accounting for more than 8 percent of all dementia cases, Richard Sima reports in this week’s Brain Matters column. The simple solution for many people is a hearing aid. And yet, a large number of people resist getting them. For some, the reluctance to get a hearing aid is about stigma and not wanting to look old. Others may not be aware they have hearing loss. For many, the obstacle is cost.

Help is on the way. A new federal rule that went into effect this week allows hearing aids for adults with low to moderate hearing loss to be sold over the counter, without a prescription or hearing test. The hope is that the new rule will spur more competition in the hearing aid industry, drive innovation and bring prices down.

More here.