The latest study has yet again indicated that this approach could potentially help individuals ward off cognitive deterioration.
A recent study suggests that wearing hearing aids could significantly decelerate the pace of cognitive decline in individuals with untreated mild to moderate hearing impairment and predisposing factors for dementia.
Participants of the study who used hearing aids experienced a whopping 48% reduction in cognitive deterioration over a span of three years, in comparison to those who didn’t use such aids. These findings were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2023 held in Amsterdam.
The participants who had a higher likelihood of developing dementia were identified by the presence of several factors, such as:
- Decreased cognitive functioning
- Lower levels of education
- Limited household income
- High prevalence of diseases like hypertension and diabetes
Conversely, there was no noticeable effect of hearing aid usage on cognitive decline rates in individuals devoid of dementia risk factors.
The research team theorizes that intervening in cases of hearing loss might slow down the drop in cognitive abilities in two potential ways:
- Facilitating auditory processing for the brain
- Encouraging people to stay more socially and physically active
An additional benefit for the participants who used hearing aids was enhancements in communication skills and social interactions, along with reduced feelings of loneliness.
In an overview of the research findings, Dr. Frank Lin from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, a co-author of the study, emphasized:
“Hearing loss is quite manageable in later stages of life, making it a critical public health priority to mitigate the risk of cognitive deterioration and dementia, alongside other dementia-risk elements like early-life limited education, high blood pressure, social seclusion, and physical dormancy.”
The research team strongly recommends regular hearing examinations and treatment for all older adults.
This investigation supplements a family of studies suggesting that the use of hearing aids could help prevent dementia. For instance, a study published earlier this year indicated that older adults with hearing impairments who utilize hearing aids have a 19% lower chance of cognitive degradation compared to those who ignore hearing-related issues.