Can wearing a hearing aid device help to prevent mental deterioration?
More and more research suggests this to be true. There is growing evidence between hearing loss and a decline in one’s thinking and memory. Recent studies have shown that elderly participants who use hearing aids, slowed or reversed their cognitive decline. A larger trial is in progress to gather more information.
There is now more serious consideration for hearing loss and its link to severe health issues, after many years of being brushed off as a disadvantage of growing old. Funding for research has risen, partially because of the aging population.
Hearing loss has been associated with other health issues, such as depression, falling. It is also linked to a rise in economic hardships.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a study from 2018 showed that health-care costs for people with hearing loss are 46% higher over ten years than those who do not have hearing loss. This is partially because of repeated hospitalizations.
Scientists claim that damaged hearing could increase the amount of mental energy your brain uses to process sound. As a result, less of that energy can be used for thinking and memory. The loss of the ability to distinguish surrounding sound signals could also change the brain in different ways.
Hearing loss can worsen cognitive decline by causing people to be socially isolated and depressed. Interactions may become more confusing and exhausting due to miscommunications with caregivers. This could lead to anxiety.
A 2017 study in The Lancet, a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal, discovered a link to between dementia and hearing loss. Monitoring and taking care of your hearing loss is one of the best ways to possibly prevent dementia, and benefit cognitive health by improving how the brain functions.
A different study was conducted from the University of Maryland. There were two groups of 18 individuals who had mild to moderate hearing loss. One group had never used hearing aids prior to this study, but were wearing the hearing devices for eight hours each day. The other group did not wear the hearing devices.
After six months, the study showed that 15 out of 18 patients with no prior usage of hearing aids gained improvement with their working memory and neural speech processing. These patients found it easier to listen and their working memory improved, along with their neural speech processing.
These studies only scratch the surface. An extensive investigation that was launched in 2018 is being conducted with a trial using 850 participants. The objective of the analysis is to conclusively determine whether the treatment of hearing loss will slow or stop cognitive decline. The investigation will conclude in 2022.
Scientists say that the value of hearing is only starting to be appreciated by people. Hopefully the stigma of wearing hearing aids will decline.
If you would like to learn more about hearing aids, and how they can help prevent mental deterioration please contact our hearing instrument specialists at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.