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Parkinson’s Awareness Week 2024

This year Parkinson’s Awareness Week will take place between Sunday 10th April until Saturday 16th April.

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological disease caused by a loss of nerve cells, which limits movement. It’s thought to affect around 145,000 people in the UK.

The charity Parkinson’s UK states that:

• The disease develops when cells in the brain stop working properly and are lost over time; these cells produce a chemical called dopamine
• Symptoms begin when the brain can’t make enough dopamine to control movement
• There are three main symptoms: tremor, slowness of movement and muscle stiffness

But did you know that hearing loss is linked to Parkinson’s, and in particular, cognitive decline as we age? Hearing loss has been found to be almost twice as likely to affect elderly people with Parkinson’s disease. Loss of hearing can affect people in many ways but it can especially have an impact on their cognitive decline.

A 2012 study at the University of Naples in Italy found that 106 out of 118 patients with Parkinson’s had age related hearing loss in one or both ears. A study of patients with ‘normal hearing’ resulted in a lower figure.

More recently, scientists in London have found that hearing loss can be an early warning sign of Parkinson’s disease.

People with hearing loss:

• Don’t participate in conversations and tend to limit their social interaction
• Use more cognitive energy to understand the sounds that they are hearing
• Often forget what they have heard

The research, published in JAMA Neurology, suggests that hearing loss may exacerbate cognitive decline and motor symptoms in individuals with Parkinson’s disease, highlighting the importance of addressing hearing loss early in the disease management process.

If you or a loved one experience any of these situations, it’s best to have a hearing assessment with a qualified healthcare professional. Improving your ability to hear by using hearing aids could have many positive impacts on your well-being and can help prevent cognitive decline.

If you would like some advice on managing hearing loss or to book an appointment for a hearing assessment, please call 01223 661399.

Find out more about Parkinson’s Awareness Week 2024 here

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