More than 48 million Americans experience hearing loss ranging from mild to severe. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to a number of medical issues, including an increased rate of cognitive decline.
Rate of Cognitive Decline
Untreated hearing loss is a growing problem, ranking as one of the most common physical conditions. That means more people than ever before are putting themselves at risk of its negative side effects.
A recently published study conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital found a positive link between hearing loss and cognitive decline. These results confirm what many have reported for years.
Over the course of eight years, the researchers followed more than 10,000 participants 62 years and older. The results indicated a strong link between hearing loss and cognitive decline.
Researchers measured cognitive decline through subjective cognitive function scores through a six-item questionnaire administered every four years between 2006 to 2016. They found that when compared to those with normal hearing, Rates of cognitive decline were:
- 30 percent higher in those with mild hearing loss
- 42 percent higher in those with moderate hearing loss
- 54 percent higher in those with severe hearing loss
Benefit of Hearing Aids
A study published in 2020 found that wearing hearing aids may delay cognitive decline in older adults and improve brain function.
The research from the University of Melbourne tested the use of hearing aids in nearly 100 adults between 62 to 82 years old with hearing loss. After 18 months of hearing aid use, the researchers found significant improvement in speech perception and self-reported listening ability and quality of life scores.
In addition, the study found that there were greater improvements in cognitive function with more frequent hearing aid use.
While the results of these studies are limited, it does show illustrate the need for early hearing loss detection and treatment.To learn more about the relationship between hearing loss and cognitive decline, or to schedule a cognitive screening, call Victory Hearing & Balance at (512) 428-8355.