A recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health and led by Frank Lin, MD, of Johns Hopkins University, examined nearly 1,000 people aged 70 to 84 with severe hearing loss. researched. Study participants were randomly assigned to two groups: One group wore hearing aids and learned how to use them. A second group—the control group—participated in a health education program.
That’s not surprising, according to research published in 2023, which found that people who wore hearing aids had significantly better communication skills. lancet.
When the researchers looked at all 1,000 participants over a three-year period, they found no impact on their memory or thinking skills, but notably, when they analyzed groups at higher risk for dementia, they found that hearing aids reduced their risk of cognitive decline by nearly half.
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2023 Journal of the American Medical Association Researchers surveyed more than 2,400 older adults, half of whom were over 80, and found that people with moderate or severe hearing loss had a 61% higher prevalence of dementia than those with normal hearing, and that hearing aid use was linked to hearing loss. People with moderate or severe hearing loss had a 32% lower rate of dementia.
“Hearing is complicated,” Shah said. “Without any input going into your ears, one theory is that, like muscles you don’t use, the brain will atrophy [shrink] Or stop listening. People with hearing loss actually do suffer from brain atrophy,” and there is a link between smaller overall brain size and hearing loss.
4. They can help relieve depression, social isolation and anxiety
“When you think about what hearing loss can cause, one of the most obvious things is the impact on mood, isolation and depression,” says geriatrician Ronan Factora, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Geriatric Medicine. explain. “If you can’t hear the conversations around you, you tend to withdraw from those activities. … Hearing aids can help reverse that sense of isolation and loneliness.”
Research supports the link: An analysis of 20 studies covering more than 675,000 people found that people with hearing loss were also more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than those without hearing loss.
Another study published in 2023 international journal of geriatric psychiatry Data from the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Aging also found that people with hearing loss were more likely to experience depressive symptoms. Studies have also found that hearing aids appear to reduce the risk of depression.
“We did see protective effects on measures of social isolation and loneliness, meaning that over three years we found that those who wore hearing aids experienced less social network contraction and were less likely to report feeling lonely Smaller. This is very powerful stuff,” said Nicholas Reed, an audiologist and epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Mayo’s Shah calls this a two-way relationship.
“If you’re depressed, you’re more likely to have hearing loss, and if you have hearing loss, you’re more likely to be depressed,” Shah said. “So if one of my patients is depressed or anxious, I really should evaluate their hearing because regardless of the cause, that might be a way to get them out of their depression or anxiety. For everyone over 65, One of our standards of care is to ask about hearing loss at your annual Medicare health check. The positive side is so important: you can thrive and continue to engage with the world, your work, your volunteering and your family.”