Hearing aids can reduce the risk of dementia and depression in older people
WASHINGTON: Hearing aids can reduce the risk of dementia, depression and serious falls in people over the age of 66, a landmark study has found.
Those who wore hearing aids within three years of being diagnosed with hearing loss were 18 per cent less likely to go on to develop dementia, compared to those who failed to wear them.
Meanwhile, the risk of falls fell by 13 per cent and the risk of depression by 11 per cent in the study of 115,000 adults.
Elham Mahmoudi, a health economist at Michigan University who led the study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, said: “We already know that people with hearing loss have more adverse health events but this study allows us to see the effects of an intervention and look for associations between hearing aids and health outcomes.
“Though hearing aids can’t be said to prevent these conditions, a delay in the onset of dementia, depression and the risk of serious falls, could be significant.
“We hope our research will help clinicians and people with hearing loss understand the potential association between getting a hearing aid and other aspects of their health.”
Last July, a study of 25,000 people found hearing aids helped increase memory and attention.
It is hoped the research will help clinicians and people with hearing loss understand the potential association between getting a hearing aid and other aspects of their health.
While other studies have found that if untreated, hearing loss can lead to social isolation and loneliness.
Some experts consider loneliness to be a leading cause of mental and physical decline, raising the risk of depression, dementia and early death.
Roger Wicks, of Action on Hearing Loss, said: “With the number of people with hearing loss predicted to rise to one in five by 2035, and with the link to dementia increasingly clear, more must be done to encourage greater take up of hearing aids.
“Some areas of the country already have restrictive policies on hearing aid provision — going against all clinical guidelines — in a misguided effort to make short-term savings.”
According to the charity, more than 40 per cent of Brits over 50 years old have hearing loss, rising to 71 per cent of people over the age of 70.