I’m joined now by Dr. Vincent Lin. Thank you for joining us.
I would like to know more about the link between dementia and deafness. This is
one of your specialties. It’s going to be discussed at CI2016. So what’s the
latest? The latest is that we know that if you’re a person with hearing
loss your risk of developing dementia and the rear progression is much faster
than someone who doesn’t. And this gives us potential, an opportunity to
intervene. And the question that still hasn’t been answered is if someone with
hearing loss is treated with a device like a cochlear implant or a hearing aid, can
this potentially slow down or even impede the progression of dementia.
It’s a very exciting proposition because dementia is a huge problem worldwide.
Absolutely. How can family members sort of watch out for this and ask the right
questions? I think, you know, if you have a member in your family who has hearing loss they’ll
show some very characteristic signs. They will socially withdraw. They often will
have a lot of difficulty hearing especially in challenging environments, so like
family dinners where there’s a lot of background noise. Environments where they’ll be a
lot of kind of challenging kind of competing noises, and they often with
would withdraw or not want to attend. Absolutely. And with the aging
population of course hearing loss is going to be more and more prevalent
potentially. How about the stigma around hearing loss? How do you deal with that?
How how do you approach that? I think patients have to understand that, you know,
it’s such a common problem these days. And in the past is was always associated with people
who are older, and so people talk about “my grandparents hearing aids” but the
truth is hearing hearing loss is something that affects people of all
ages, from babies to people who are young, to middle age, too old. I think once
people realize that it’s a common problem then I think that takes a little
bit of the stigma away. But as a hearing professional, I think we have to
encourage our patients to understand that the devices now these days are quite
powerful, and often quite discreet. And they are very, very effective and help them
hear better. Where’s the research headed for
older adults and CI? Well, I think that the question that remains to be
answered is if patients with hearing loss are treated, either with a CI or,
potentially hearing aid, does this affect the course of dementia progression? And a
lot of research there that’s still answering this question. But it will take time.
It’s a very long process, and I think it will take a number of years for this to
be answered fully. What are you personally looking forward to at CI2016? Besides catching up with a lot of
colleagues and good friends, the research kind of going on
with dementia and hearing loss progresses a lot every year. Just seeing
what the new links, the new possibilities in terms of ways that we
can intervene today with our patients will be very, very exciting to hear about. Dr. Vincent Lin, thank you so much for joining us! Best of luck with everything.