Home Health and Fitness Hearing Aids Could Help Fend Off Dementia

Hearing Aids Could Help Fend Off Dementia

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man with hearing aid

Research published in lancet public health It has been suggested that using hearing aids may prevent the increased risk of dementia associated with hearing loss. A study of 437,704 participants found that individuals experiencing hearing loss but not using hearing aids had a 1.7% risk of dementia compared to those without hearing loss or using hearing aids. A person’s risk of dementia was found to be 1.2%. The authors call for increased public awareness, reduced costs, and increased support for primary care workers to provide hearing impairment screening and treatment, such as hearing aid fitting.

People experiencing hearing loss who are not using a hearing aid may have a higher risk of dementia than people without hearing loss, suggests a new study published in The Lancet Public Health journal. However, using a hearing aid may reduce this risk to the same level as people without hearing loss.

Dementia and hearing loss are common conditions among older adults. The Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention, and care, published in 2020, suggested that hearing loss may be linked to around 8% of worldwide dementia cases,[1] Addressing hearing impairment may therefore be an important way to reduce the global burden of dementia.

“Evidence is building that hearing loss may be the most influential modifiable risk factor for middle-aged dementia, but there is no evidence of hearing aids reducing dementia risk in the real world. The efficacy of its use remains unclear. Our study suggests that hearing aids may be a minimally invasive and cost-effective treatment for reducing the potential impact of hearing loss on dementia. We provide the best evidence to date to suggest

The researchers looked at data from 437,704 people who are part of the UK Biobank database. Information about the presence of hearing loss and hearing aid use was collected by self-reported questionnaires, and the diagnosis of dementia was determined using hospital records and death record data. The mean age of study participants at recruitment he was 56 years, and her mean follow-up was 12 years.

Approximately three-quarters of the participants (325,882/437,704) had no hearing loss and the remaining quarter (111,822) had some degree of hearing loss. Of those with hearing loss, 11.7% (13,092 / 111,822) used hearing aids.

After adjusting for other factors, the study suggests a 42% higher risk of all-cause dementia in hearing-impaired, non-hearing aid users compared to participants with normal hearing. I used hearing aids.

This corresponds to a dementia risk of 1.2% for those without hearing loss but using hearing aids, compared to a 1.7% risk for dementia for those with hearing loss but no hearing aids.

“In the UK, nearly four-fifths of people with hearing loss do not use hearing aids.[2] There is evidence that hearing loss can begin as early as the 40s and that gradual cognitive decline before dementia is diagnosed can last 20 to 25 years. Our findings highlight the urgent need for early introduction of hearing aids when someone begins to experience hearing loss. Raising awareness of the potential link between hearing loss and dementia reduction in cost and accessibility of hearing aids; and increased support for primary care workers to screen, raise awareness and provide treatment for hearing impairment. is. like fitting hearing aids,” says Dongshan Zhu.

The researchers also analyzed how other factors, such as loneliness, social isolation, and depressive symptoms, influence the association between hearing loss and dementia. Analysis of this study suggests that by improving psychosocial problems, he could remove less than 8% of the association between hearing aid use and lower dementia risk. The authors say this indicates that the association between hearing aid use and protection from increased dementia is likely due to direct effects from hearing aids rather than the indirect causes investigated. said.

“The underlying pathways linking hearing aid use with reduced dementia risk are unknown. Further studies are needed to establish causality and the existence of underlying pathways,” said study author Shandong University ( China), Dr. Huang Jiang, said:

The authors noted that there is a risk of bias in self-reports, and because this study is an observational study, the association between hearing loss and dementia may be due to reverse causation through neurodegeneration or other shared mechanisms. We acknowledge that there are some limitations to this study, including that In addition, many cofactors were considered but unmeasured factors, such as those who used hearing aids may be more health-conscious than those who did not use hearing aids. Finally, most of the UK Biobank participants were Caucasian, and few participants were born deaf or had hearing loss before acquiring spoken language.

Professor Gil Livingston and Dr Sergi Costafreda of University College London, who were not involved in the study, said in linked comments: Reducing the risk of dementia in people with hearing loss is as good as possible without randomized controlled trials. This may not be practical or ethical as it should not stop people with hearing loss from using effective treatments. Not only is it a disease that gives you pain, it can also be costly. However, using hearing aids to prevent dementia has been found to be cost-effective and cost-saving. In the United States, hearing aids are now available over-the-counter, making them more accessible. The evidence is compelling that treating hearing loss is a promising way to reduce the risk of dementia. Now is the time to increase hearing loss recognition and detection, and hearing aid acceptability and usability. “


  1. “Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care: A 2020 Report lancet Commission” Professor Gil Livingston, MD. Dr. Jonathan Huntley. Dr. Andrew Summerrad. Professor David Ames, MD. Professor Clive Ballard, MD. Professor Sube Banerjee, MD. Professor Carol Brayne, MD. Professor Alistair Burns, MD. Prof. Jiska Cohen Mansfield, Ph.D. Prof. Claudia Cooper, Ph.D. Dr. Sergi G. Costafreda. Amit Diaz, MD. Professor Nick Fox, MD. Professor Laura N. Gitlin, Ph.D. Professor Robert Howard, MD. Professor Helen C Kales, MD. Professor Mika Kivimäki, FMedSci. Professor Eric B. Larson, MD. Professor Adesola Ogunniyi, MBChB. Dr. Vasiliki Orgeta. Professor Karen Ritchie, Ph.D. Professor Kenneth Rockwood, MD. Professor Elizabeth L. Sampson, MD. Dr. Quincy Samus. Professor Ron S Schneider. Professor Geir Selbæk, MD. Professor Linda Teri, PhD and Naaheed Mukadam, PhD, 30 July 2020, lancet.
    DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30367-6
  2. “Correlations of hearing aid use among UK adults: self-reported hearing impairment, social participation, living conditions, health and demographics.” Chelsea S Sawyer, Christopher J Armitage, Kevin J Munroe, Gurjit Singh, Piers D Dawes, September/ October 2019, ear and hearing.
    DOI: 10.1097/AUD.0000000000000695

References: “Hearing aid use and associations with all-cause and cause-specific dementia: analysis of the UK Biobank cohort,” Fan Jiang, Ph.D. Dr. Shiva Raj Mishra. Dr. Nipun Shrestha. Prof. Akihiko Ozaki, Ph.D. Professor Salim S Virani, Ph.D. Dr. Tess Bright. Professor Hannah Cooper, ScD. Professor Chengchao Zhou, PhD, Professor Dongshan Zhu, April 13, 2023, lancet public health.
DOI: 10.1016/S2468-2667(23)00048-8

This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and Shandong Province, Taishan Scholar Project, China Medical Commission, and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation. See the article for a full list of author affiliations.

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