Today, dementia afflicts one in 10 Americans over 70 years in age, and that number is projected to substantially increase over the next few decades. According to a FoxNews.com article, Could Hearing Aids Delay Dementia?, a recent series of studies conducted at John Hopkins Medicine have revealed that treating hearing loss may provide some benefit in slowing the dementia process, especially in individuals over 60 and older with signs of moderate hearing losses or worse. While the study does not indicate that hearing aids can prevent dementia, it does bring up some interesting points on how achieving better hearing through hearing aids may help delay the dementia process and lessen the impact.
This study explored the correlation between untreated hearing loss and the acceleration of dementia. Of the 639 individuals studied over an average of 12 years, 36 percent of those 60 and older who had a moderate or severe hearing loss were diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease in that time frame. While it is not suggested that their hearing loss directly caused those conditions, it is intriguing to see their relationship as likely more than a coincidence. New studies are set to take place to determine the effects of hearing loss as it relates to formation of dementia, though, in the meantime, researchers heed importance for managing hearing health to help in possibly delaying the effects of dementia.
This possibility to delay the effects of dementia may likely be a result of gaining better comprehension of speech through hearing aids. This leads to overall better mental astuteness, quality of life and less likelihood of social isolation which fuels dementia in many individuals.