Your ear can detect the start of Alzheimer’s.

A new ‘ear-EEG’ device can potentially be used for the early detection of neurodegenerative disorders.

The project, called Progression Assessment in Neurodegenerative Disorders of Aging (PANDA), is a collaboration between Rigshospitalet University, Denmark’s Aarhus University, and MedTech company T&W Engineering.

The aim of the project is to develop and test a small earbud-like experimental device that can detect early signs of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

So, how does it work? Unlike traditional sleep-monitoring systems, which require you to stay in a clinic with multiple electrodes attached to your body, the ear-EEG device is much more comfortable for use at home. It monitors electrical activity in the brain by measuring tiny voltage changes on the skin surface within the ear canal. It is also equipped with an oximeter for measuring blood oxygen levels, a microphone for monitoring respiration and heart rate, and a thermometer for measuring body temperature.

The ear-EEG technology provides a more accurate representation of your natural sleep patterns and is less intrusive than conventional monitoring systems. People who are at risk of Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s could use the ear-EEG to track their sleeping patterns for several days or weeks. By doing so, early signs of the diseases can be detected years before the first problems begin to occur.

Aarhus University’s Prof. Preben Kidmose said, “Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are diseases that creep up over many years.

“In the project, we’re going to try to identify signs of the two diseases 10 to 15 years before the first problems begin to occur, and if we can, far better treatment options will be possible.”

Currently, diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease often comes too late for effective treatment options. But if the PANDA project is successful in detecting the disorders earlier, it could lead to more effective treatment options for people, allowing them to live better and longer lives.

The ear-EEG device can allow researchers to examine patients in their everyday lives and track changes in sleep patterns and treatment effects. This makes the technology a good screening tool that can be used at home like a blood pressure metre.

There are links between hearing loss and cognitive decline.

There is strong evidence to suggest that hearing loss is linked to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

Studies have found that people with hearing loss are more likely to experience cognitive decline and have a higher risk of developing dementia compared to those with normal hearing. It is thought that hearing loss may lead to changes in the brain that contribute to cognitive decline, such as increased cognitive load and social isolation.