Does hearing technology protect your memory? A mature woman holds her grandson

The Effect of Hearing Aids on Dementia

Treating your hearing loss benefits your life in ways you might not have considered, such as greater confidence, better physical health, and stronger relationships. Did you know it also has a positive impact on dementia?

Hearing Loss and Dementia

In 2011 a landmark study by Frank Lin and colleagues clearly linked hearing loss and dementia. Since then, study results have been mixed regarding the effect of hearing technology on cognitive decline.

But now, a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society makes a strong case: It reports that hearing technology slows down age-related memory loss by 75 percent.

The Study

In this longitudinal study, researchers used data from the Health and Retirement Survey, an ongoing study sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, to analyze 18 years’ worth of memory-related data for 2,040 participants during the period from 1996 to 2014. Each participant was 50 years or older with no dementia or hearing aids at the start of the study.

The memory scores were used to determine how fast each participant was losing memory. The rate of memory loss before adopting hearing aids was compared to the rate after adopting hearing aids, and the rate of decline had slowed by up to 75 percent with the adoption of hearing aids.

The study’s results are robust and important because it followed the same people over 18 years, rather than comparing a group with no hearing loss to a different group with hearing loss. Also, the study was based on the general population and not, for example, only hospital patients or only people in one specific occupation.

A Promising Result

So what does all that mean?

First things first: The cognitive decline in question is a natural result of aging. Hearing aids can’t stop or reverse memory loss. But they can allow you to maintain stronger memory over a longer time than if you hadn’t treated your hearing loss.

It means treating your hearing loss can keep you connected to loved ones more strongly and for a longer time, as well as allow you the ability to maintain independence longer.

It also means that you or a loved one getting a hearing test at the earliest signs of dementia could preserve countless hours of connection you wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Contact us today to schedule a hearing evaluation for you or a loved one!

Leave a Reply