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Reduced Risk of Dementia Possible with Hearing Aids, Study Finds


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A study has shown that wearing a hearing aid reduces the risk of dementia in people with hearing loss.

In a study published in The Lancet, researchers examined the health data of hundreds of thousands of people with varying degrees of hearing loss.

The results showed that those who did not use hearing aids had a 42% higher risk of developing dementia over 12 years than those who did.

“Our study provides the best evidence to date that hearing aids can be a minimally invasive and cost-effective intervention to mitigate the potential impact of hearing loss on dementia,” said study lead author Professor Dongshan Zhou of Shandong University.

Study lead author Professor Dongshan Zhou of Shandong University said: “Our study provides the best evidence that hearing aids can be a minimally invasive and cost-effective treatment to mitigate the potential impact of hearing loss on dementia.”

It is believed that wearing hearing aids can mitigate some of the harmful effects of hearing loss on cognitive function. Hearing loss is thought to cause the brain to contract faster.

But an international team of researchers from China, Australia, Japan, Texas, Pakistan and the UK said the true benefit of wearing hearing aids in protecting against dementia is still unclear.

They hypothesized that wearing hearing aids could delay cognitive decline by preventing the brain from working overtime in other areas to create incoming distorted sounds.

This hypothesis, known as cognitive overload, states that the brains of adults with hearing impairments must work harder to understand the same information as people with average hearing, which can put so much pressure on the brain that it cannot perform other functions. . Fine. . However, one important caveat in the new study is that the researchers collected hearing aid use information from all study participants after 2009. Until 2009, they only collected this information from people with hearing impairments.

People who did not report hearing problems before 2009 may have done so because they used hearing aids, suggesting that the benefits of using hearing aids to protect against dementia may be underestimated.

The Chinese team’s study relied on data from more than 500,000 volunteers aged 40 to 69 held by the British Biobank, a database containing detailed genetic and medical information about the people who live there, as part of a long-term study focusing on genetic and environmental factors.

In the end, the study included data on just over 437,700 people with a median age of 56 at baseline — people were followed for about 12 years.

None of them initially had dementia. Participants answered questions about their hearing status, such as “Do you use your hearing aid most of the time?” and “Do you have hearing problems?” With optional yes, no, or me answers, I am completely deaf.

The diagnosis of dementia was established using hospital records and data from the National Health Service of England death registry. People with hearing loss who did not use hearing aids had a 1.7% risk of developing dementia, compared with a 1.2% risk among people with or without hearing loss who use hearing aids.

While the group’s findings suggest the potential benefit of providing hearing aids to middle-aged and older people in reducing the risk of dementia, they acknowledge that “the effectiveness of hearing aids in reducing the risk of dementia in a real-world context remains unclear.”

Hearing loss becomes more common with age, as does the risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for 60 to 80% of all cases.

Source: Daily Mail

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