“Midlife hearing loss is a huge risk factor for dementia, and it is the biggest modifiable cause,” says Toups. “I mean, it’s easy to fix. You get a hearing aid.” Research backs up the claim: A 2020 Lancet commission report lists hearing loss as one of the top risk factors for dementia3, but notes that using hearing aids appears to reduce the excess risk.
“So if people are having hearing loss now, please get that checked out early,” Toups says. You might think that hearing loss is a natural part of aging, and to some degree it might be, but “if you’re not hearing properly, you’re not getting those inputs into your brain all the time,” Toups adds. “As people are aging, they should have that on their awareness.”