Top doctor says listening to music too loudly could cause dementia in later life

We've all been told to turn down our music from time to time – but it turns out there may be a reason why we should.

A top psychiatrist urged middle-aged Brits to avoid excessive loud noise and lower the volume on their headphones if they want to reduce their risk of dementia. If you're already struggling with your hearing, Dr Adam Moreton suggests swallowing your pride and wearing auditory aids to help protect against the chance of memory problems in later life.

The warning comes as Manchester Consultant Older Adult Psychiatrist Dr Moreton, from Pall Mall Medical, revealed there's a link between struggling to hear and developing a loss of cognitive functioning.

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The medic said: "I think that after getting your blood pressure checked and treated, number two on the list of simple things you should do in your middle years to prevent your future risk of dementia is to protect your hearing by avoiding excessive noise exposure. Ensure your headphones aren’t too loud because sensory impairment or loss of hearing does contribute to your risk of developing the condition.

"Most people don’t like the idea of hearing aids but there are lots of benefits including to your cognition and your thinking, going beyond just your improved ability to hear and communicate. Hearing is a really underestimated key part of dementia prevention, simply put, not hearing properly causes unnecessary confusion which over time can impact on your understanding and impact on your thinking processes."

According to Dr Moreton, a lot of issues arise from the ripple effect of sensory impairment, adding that bewilderment leads to lack of social isolation. Most important is the consequence of not hearing on your social interactions.

He said if you can't communicate well with people because you can't hear them, they’re probably not going to talk to you quite as much, making exchanges harder. You might be less inclined to start up conversations yourself.

"All these things will increase your chances of becoming isolated from other people," he added. "Lack of social contact, loneliness and withdrawing from life result in a loss of important daily cognitive stimulation and will have a knock-on effect in increasing your chance of dementia.

“Hearing is so important, so protect it before you lose it. And if you are losing it, you might need to suck up your pride and get some hearing aids to help maintain what you've got for as long as possible.

"In some cases, you might even find that your so-called memory problem was purely down to poor hearing and is completely reversible. For the rest of you then protecting your hearing as best as possible is still crucially important."

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