The sight of grandchildren’s faces, the smell of home cooking, the sound of a friend’s voice: We process so much of life through our eyes, ears, and nose. While many older adults experience some decline in their senses as they age, there is growing scientific evidence that these changes may also be related to dementia and overall brain health.
About one third of older adults have some form of vision problems or loss by age 65, and nearly 50% of people older than 75 have disabling hearing loss. Anosmia, which is the medical term for the decline or loss of smell, can also be a significant blow to quality of life. Still, for most older adults, these common signs of aging don’t affect cognitive health.
Too many older adults consider sensory decline to be something that they must learn to live with, yet there are treatment options available. Scientists are studying whether the risk of cognitive problems can be reduced when these conditions are treated — with glasses, eye surgery, hearing aids, or other health care approaches. Read on to learn how NIA-funded investigators are finding new insights into how the eyes, ears, and nose might be windows into our overall cognitive health.
To learn about sensory loss and the relationship with dementia risk, from the National Institute on Aging, CLICK HERE.