Hearing loss has been linked to a number of physical, mental and emotional health issues when left untreated. This includes increased risk of falls and cognitive decline.
Just like completing your daily crossword puzzle or taking a class at University of Texas at Austin, treating your hearing loss with hearing aids can protect your ability to think and may help prevent or delay the onset of dementia.
Hearing Loss Is Linked to Cognitive Decline
Seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia compared to those with normal hearing, reports a 2011 research study. Dr. Frank Lin and his team of researchers enrolled 639 participants into their study. Their hearing loss and cognitive abilities were tested before they were enrolled and then every one to two years between 1990 and 2008.
The researchers determined that those with mild hearing loss had double the risk of developing hearing loss compared to those who had normal hearing. The risk for those with moderate hearing loss was three times higher, and for those with severe hearing loss it was five times higher.
The study was unable to determine why hearing loss appears to be linked with dementia. They suspect the two conditions are related because hearing loss increases social isolation and impacts the structure and function of the brain.
The Effect of Hearing Aid Use on Cognition
Published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, this January 2020 study looked at the effect hearing aid usage had on the cognitive abilities of older adults. The researchers were specifically looking to see if they could determine if hearing aids were able to delay or improve cognitive function.
There were 99 adult participants enrolled in this study between the ages of 60 to 84. All participants had hearing loss, but at the start of the study, none had been diagnosed with a cognitive impairment. Throughout the study’s 18-month run, the participants were asked to complete a series of assessments measuring their hearing, cognitive function, speech perception, quality of life, level of psychical activity, loneliness, mood and overall mental health.
Those who elected to use hearing aids to treat their hearing loss saw an improvement in their overall quality of life and speech perception; 97.3% reported an improve in their executive function that was clinically significant. In female participants, the researchers identified an improvement in working memory, visual attention and visual learning.
Even though this study was small, researchers think it suggests that “treatment of hearing loss with hearing aids may delay cognitive decline.” To learn more about the benefits of treating your hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with a hearing aid professional, contact Victory Hearing & Balance Center today.