Hearing Aids can potentially reduce Dementia & Falls in Older Adults – Recent Research
1. Hearing Loss & Dementia
If you are experiencing hearing loss, you are 33% more likely to develop dementia with age. A new study from University of Exeter and the University of Michigan provides further evidence that encouraging people to wear a suitable hearing aid may help their brains to maintain healthy functioning and reduce risk of dementia.
This research also found that older adults an early diagnosis of hearing loss and timely treatment with suitable hearing aids can significantly lower risk of being diagnosed with dementia, depression, or anxiety, and a lower risk of suffering fall-related injuries than those who leave their hearing loss uncorrected.
“The risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s within three years of a hearing loss diagnosis was 18% lower for hearing aid users. The risk of depression or anxiety was 11% lower and the risk of fall-related injuries was 13% lower among hearing aid users.”
2. Hearing Loss & Falls
Closer to home in Australia, researchers are investigating role of a device that may help improved balance and stability in adults with hearing loss. University of Queensland study co-lead Professor Sandy Brauer said,
“Three in five adults aged over 60 have a hearing impairment and every 10 decibel increase in hearing loss puts an individual at greater risk of falling,”
Professor Brauer stressed that falls amongst older adults can lead to serious injuries such as hip fractures, head trauma that can have debilitating effect on quality of life. Swiss hearing aid company Sonova helped to fund the research, including top-up funds for UQ scholarships for the two PhD students.
3. Why are Audiologists Concerned?
Many health professionals are concerned that hearing loss is not taken seriously and only one in four people who could benefit from a hearing aid have one. Hearing Care Industry Association report that there is an average of seven years between a person needing a hearing aid and taking the steps to get one.
This research now contributes to a growing body of literature of mostly studies conducted in UK and USA that have reported improved brain function and health amongst those who treat their hearing loss with suitable hearing aids. This is now a well-researched theory that if hearing loss is left untreated, it can lead to social isolation as well as mental and physical decline.
We have shared articles previously on this topic that can also be found in below links;