Untreated hearing loss has been linked to a variety of physical, mental and emotional problems, including earlier onset of cognitive decline. Treating your hearing loss with hearing aids is one of many ways you can help prevent or delay this condition, just like completing the daily crossword puzzle or taking a class at Florida Atlantic University. We explain how below.
The Link Between Hearing Loss & Cognitive Decline
A 2011 study from Johns Hopkins found that seniors with hearing loss are significantly more at risk of developing dementia compared to peers with normal hearing. This study involved 639 participants whose hearing loss and cognition were tested every two years between 1990 and 2008.
Researchers found that:
- Those with mild hearing loss had 2x the risk of developing dementia.
- Those with moderate hearing loss had 3x the risk of developing dementia.
- Those with severe hearing loss had 5x the risk of developing dementia.
While researchers are uncertain about exactly why this link exists, there are two theories. One theory is that both conditions share a common pathology. Another theory is that hearing loss causes people to become socially isolated, a well-known risk factor for developing dementia.
How Hearing Aids Help
A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine in January 2020 examined the effect of wearing hearing aids on cognitive abilities of older adults. Researchers sought to answer the question of whether hearing aids could delay cognitive decline or improve cognitive function.
In this study, participants included 99 older adults ages 60 to 84. Though all had hearing loss at the beginning of the study, none had a diagnosed cognitive impairment. Throughout the 18-month study, participants completed a series of assessments that measured hearing and cognitive function, as well as speech perception, level of physical activity, loneliness, mood, overall mental health and quality of life.
Those who wore hearing aids saw improvement in speech perception and overall quality of life. 97.3% experienced an improvement in executive function, and female participants reported better memory and visual attention. Hearing aids can improve your life and your ability to think.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with an audiologist, call the experts at Aaron’s Hearing Aid & Audiology Center today.