DeafHear Regional News
Hearing Aids improve cognitive performance.
New research to be published soon in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry has found that participants who wore hearing aids performed better on cognitive tests than participants with hearing loss who did not use hearing aids.
In recent years there have been a number of research reports that have shown a significant association between hearing loss in older adults and higher levels of cognitive decline.
One study found that people with mild to severe hearing loss had two–five times the rate of dementia compared to hearing peers, while another study found that people with hearing loss had 30–40% faster rates of cognitive decline on certain cognitive meausres comapred to hearing peers.
Only a third of people with moderate or greater hearing loss have been fitted with hearing aids, and it is estimated that there are 150,000 Irish adults with untreated disabling hearing loss. It is also estimated that people wait an average of 10 years before seeking treatment for an acquired hearing loss.
A key question for the individuals concerned and health policymakers is can something be done?
there are 150,000 Irish adults
Hearing Aids make a significant difference!
New research soon to be published has found that participants with hearing loss who wore hearing aids outperformed participants who did not wear hearing aids, even though they had significantly greater levels of hearing loss!
Participants were enrolled in the Columbia University Medical Center in Washington DC, and were aged 80–99 years. All participants had some level of hearing loss greater than 25dB, while those that wore hearing aids (34% of participants) had average hearing losses mroe than 10dB greater than those who did not use hearing aids.
The researchers concluded that ‘the treatment of hearing loss with amplification might make a significnat contribution in alleviating the burden associated with reduced mental status and therefore improved quality of life in the elderly’.
Brendan Lennon, DeafHear’s Head of Advocacy says this research provides further evidence that people should not delay in seeking treatment for their hearing loss. “All the evidence suggests that the earlier people seek treatment for their hearing loss, the better their health and quality of life.”
DeafHear’s national campaign Mind Your Hearing is aimed at encouraging people to seek treatment for their hearing loss earlier.
Lennon says that with people living longer, it is not unusual for someone to acquire a significant hearing loss 25–30 years before the end of their life.
“Waiting 10 years to act on your hearing loss could seriously compromise your quality of life in these latter years” he added.
If you think you may have a hearing loss,
consider getting a hearing test as soon as possible!
For more information, visit www.mindyourhearing.ie
Related to this story…
Hearing Aids helps keep your brain healthy!
DeafHear.ie will provide spokespersons to comment on issues relevant to Deaf and Hard of Hearing people on request.
Reference: Hearing Aid Use is Assocaited with Better Mini-Mental State Exam Performance. Qian, J.Z., Wattamar, K., Caruana, F.F., Otter, J., Leskowitz, M.J., Siedlecki, B., Spitzer, J.B., Lalwani, A.K. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2016. AMGP 587.