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What is the link between hearing loss and Alzheimer's disease?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Many of us assume hearing loss is an inevitable part of life, but it’s actually the number one red flag you’re aging too fast and can be a sign of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. As you probably know, the brain has multiple “centers” that control different bodily functions: One part controls sight, another part controls smell, another stores memory, one controls hearing and so on.

One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease is the formation of plaques on the brain, located between nerve cells. These plaques cause neurons in the brain to stop functioning properly, making it unable to send all the signals it wants. As a result, your various brain centers begin to shut down. Thus the hearing center’s ceasing to function may be directly linked to the formation of the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s. To make matters worse, as hearing ability decreases, our ability to function in daily life decreases as well, contributing to further mental decline.

While doctors don’t have a cure for Alzheimer’s just yet, you can start protecting your hearing right now by taking 300 mg of magnesium a day. According to a recent study, oral magnesium treatment has been shown to reduce the incidence of temporary and permanent noise-induced hearing loss.

Studies have also shown the benefits of keeping an active brain through reading or doing crossword puzzles or brain games. Break out an interesting book or finish that Sudoku puzzle. Your brain’s health depends on it!

This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.