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How Hearing Loss is Linked to Cognitive Decline

person holding hearing aid
A doctor who specializes in geriatric medicine explains how hearing devices can be helpful in preventing long-term cognitive decline. (Video+Article)

large-scale study has found that wearing hearing aids may be helpful in preventing cognitive decline and dementia.

In fact, the results showed participants who used them had a 19% decrease in their risks for long-term cognitive decline.

“So this looked at over 130,000 patients in different trials across the country and found an attributable correlation of almost 20 percent for cognitive decline and that’s the most robust data we’ve ever had,” said Kenneth Koncilja, MD, geriatric medicine specialist for Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Koncilja, who was not directly involved in the study, said it’s been known that hearing loss can impact an older individual’s cognition.

However, this study now shows there could be a chance to help prevent that – with the use of hearing devices.

Researchers also discovered during the study that hearing devices were significantly associated with a 3% improvement in cognitive scores that assessed general cognition in the short term.

So, what does all this mean for the general public?

Dr. Koncilja said the findings highlight the importance of addressing hearing loss sooner than later.

“Formal hearing tests are covered by Medicare and should be part of the work-up for patients who are worried about memory changes and want to be proactive to combat cognitive decline before it sets in,” he said.

The FDA also recently authorized the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids, making the devices more affordable and accessible.


SOURCE:

The Cleveland Clinic

REFERENCE:

Yeo BSY, Song HJJMD, Toh EMS, et al. Association of Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants With Cognitive Decline and Dementia: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysisJAMA Neurol. 2023;80(2):134–141. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2022.4427

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Hanna Levi Julian

Hanna Levi Julian

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