Did your recent hearing exam reveal you have a hearing loss that could be treated with hearing aids? If so, you should know there’s more benefits to wearing hearing aids than just improving your ability to communicate with friends at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar. Research shows that wearing hearing aids can actually help prevent or delay a dementia diagnosis.
The Link Between Hearing Loss & Dementia
According to research by Johns Hopkins, people with hearing loss are more likely to be diagnosed with dementia compared to peers with normal hearing. A 2011 study found that those with mild hearing loss have two times the risk, those with moderate hearing loss have three times the risk and those with severe hearing loss have five times the risk.
There are three possible reasons for this link:
- Hearing loss causes social isolation, a well-known risk factor for dementia.
- Hearing loss may cause the brain to devote additional resources to helping you hear, taking resources away from memory and thinking.
- There may be a common underlying pathology that leads to both hearing problems and dementia.
How Hearing Aids Can Help
A study from 2020 found that wearing hearing aids can actually improve cognition, helping prevent or delay cognitive decline.
For the study, researchers worked with 99 adults ages 62-82 who had never worn hearing aids.
The researchers assessed the participants’ hearing before wearing hearing aids and after 18 months of hearing aid usage. They also collected information about speech perception, physical activity, quality of life, mood, loneliness and general health. Cognitive performance was assessed in five domains: psychomotor function, attention, working memory, visual learning and executive function.
After 18 months, there was a pronounced improvement in speech perception, executive function and quality of life. The improvement was greater for females than males. Female participants also exhibited greater improvement in working memory, visual attention and visual learning.
The researchers hypothesize the difference between genders has to do with how often the devices were worn. Female participants wore their devices 56.3% of the time, compared to just 33.3% for male participants.
While hearing aids may not fully prevent dementia, as there’s nothing that can be done about age or genetics, researchers are hopeful about the ability of hearing aids to delay a diagnosis. For more information or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call Total Hearing Care of Dallas today.