The answer is yes.  A recent study1 showed that using hearing aids is associated with slowing cognitive decline.

There are 47 million people with dementia worldwide.  The impacts of dementia on people and their families are significant.  The costs of treating dementia are high.

The Lancet2 modelled nine modifiable risk factors at distinct stages of life for dementia – see diagram.   A modifiable risk factor means that you can change it and reduce the risk.  If you cut all the modifiable risk factors there would be a 35% reduction in new cases of dementia.  The effects of this would be enormous.

The modifiable risk factors for dementia at different life stages are:

  • low educational level in childhood,
  • hearing loss, hypertension, obesity in mid-life,
  • smoking, depression, physical inactivity, social isolation and diabetes in late life.

Mid-life hearing loss is a significant risk factor for dementia.  In fact, hearing loss is the biggest modifiable risk factor for dementia.  The reason why hearing loss is a major risk factor is because of its prevalence.  Thirty-two percent of people over 50 year of age have hearing loss.  Treating hearing loss would reduce the number of new cases of dementia by 9%.

Research has shown hearing aids improve the quality of life for people with hearing loss.  Hearing aids also improve;

  • communication
  • engagement in conversation
  • Social participation

They also reduce isolation and depression.

The study1 found a link between hearing aid use and slower cognitive decline.  The authors hypothesize two mechanisms to explain the link with hearing aid use.

  1. A reduction of depression and increase in social engagement.  An increase in activity and/or self-efficacy.
  2. The second is a neuro-biological mechanism.  Hearing aids may reduce the negative impacts of sensory deprivation of the brain.

Treating hearing loss will reduce your risks for dementia.

The prevalence of hearing loss is high for people over 50 years of age.  Thus, it is important that anyone over the age of 50 has their hearing checked.  Or if you already suspect a hearing loss, you should have a hearing assessment by an audiologist.

At Melbourne Audiology Centre, if you are over 50, the hearing screening is free.  The free hearing screen will show if you have a hearing loss or not.  We will recommend a hearing assessment if you don’t pass the hearing screening.  A hearing assessment takes 1hour.  Your audiologist will determine the degree and type of hearing loss.  They will explain the results to you, and they will make recommendations for the treatment of any hearing loss found.  It also includes a report to your GP.

People who treat their hearing loss with hearing aids are happier, healthier and wealthier compared to people who do not use hearing aids.  These are results found in a report “hearing loss – numbers and costs” published by hear-it AISBL*.

The main findings are:

  • Hearing aid user earn significantly more than non-users
  • Unemployment rates from non-users are approximately twice those of hearing aid users
  • Early retirement and less demanding jobs are more common if you an untreated hearing loss.  This also means that the average income of people with hearing loss is below that of people with normal hearing
  • Hearing aid users report improvements in their overall quality of life and that hearing aids have a positive impact on their family relationships.  Untreated hearing loss can lead to depression, loneliness and social isolation.  It can also have multiple effects on personal and family relationships.
  • Hearing aids another hearing solutions such as implants have a positive impact on general health. Such as less physical and mental exhaustion, better sleep, less depression and better memory than non-users

Please contact us if you are interested in the latest hearing aids to arrange your hearing assessment.

Call 1300 761 021 or on make an online appointment booking enquiry here.

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