DeafHear Regional News
Hearing Aids helps keep your brain healthy!
…people with hearing loss have been found to have
In fact, the good news is that people with hearing loss who used hearing aids had rates of decline similar to hearing peers. On the other hand, people with hearing loss who did not use hearing aids had significantly higher rates of cognitive decline.
Research has shown that there is a link between acquired hearing loss in older adults and increased rates of cognitive decline. For example, people with hearing loss have been found to have two to five times the rate of dementia compared to hearing peers. Until now no study had shown that using hearing aids made a significant difference to brain health. The authors believe they made their important finding because they are the first research group investigating this topic to use data gathered over a prolonged period of time. Their study spanned 25 years.
The study involved over 3,500 French adults aged 65 or over. Approximately one third reported having a hearing loss, while 150 used hearing aids. The study divided the sample into 3 distinct groups:
Group 1: people with normal hearing.
Group 2: people with hearing loss who used hearing aids.
Group 3: people with untreated hearing loss.
When the researchers compared the rates of cognitive decline of the three groups over the period of the study, Groups 1 & 2 had similar rates of decline. However, Group 3, people with untreated hearing loss, had significantly higher rates of cognitive decline compared to the other two groups.
The researchers conducted further analysis which indicates that hearing loss does not directly cause higher rates of dementia or cognitive decline. They suggest that it is other factors resulting from hearing loss, such as increased social isolation and depression, which are the direct causes of the increased cognitive decline in people with untreated hearing loss.
The advice for anyone who suspects they have a hearing loss
What do the findings mean?
The authors suggest that hearing aids help people to stay socially connected and involved in stimulating activities, which in turns helps keep their briains active and healthy. They say that “by at least partially restoring communication abilities, hearing aids may help improve mood, increase social interactions, and enable participation… and consequently could slow cognitive decline.”
Brendan Lennon, DeafHear’s Head of Information says the report is consistent with other research showing that people with hearing loss who have hearing aids fitted experience significant improvements in quality of life, social participation and relationships.
He says “The focus of DeafHear’s Mind Your Hearing Campaign is to get people to act sooner if they suspect they have a hearing loss. The findings of this study show that people who do not seek treatment for their hearing loss are losing out. The advice for anyone who suspects they have a hearing loss is crystal clear: don’t delay, act now!”
Source: Self-Reported Hearing Loss, Hearing Aids, and Cognitive Decline in Elderly Adults: A 25-Year Study. Amieva, H., PhD, et al. Journal of American Geriatric Society, 2015.
For more information, visit www.mindyourhearing.ie