How a hearing aid could prevent cognitive decline

Hearing loss can be detrimental to long-term brain health. When left untreated, it can potentially lead to a decline in

Hearing loss can be detrimental to long-term brain health. When left untreated, it can potentially lead to a decline in memory, thinking ability and social skills.

Now a new discovery has delivered a huge wake-up call to everybody over 60: a simple hearing device could be enough to keep this downward spiral – and perhaps even diseases such as dementia – at bay.

This landmark 25-year study, published last week by the American Geriatrics Society, followed more than 3,500 people above the age of 65, tracking the way their brains aged over a quarter of a century.

Remarkably, there was no apparent difference in cognitive decline between those who used hearing devices and those who reported no hearing loss at all.

On the other hand, those who reported hearing loss but avoided hearing devices showed lower test scores and accelerated decline.

This discovery reinforces what many hearing experts have long been arguing: the early detection of hearing problems could bring enormous, far-reaching benefits to our long-term health.


Hearing loss is often gradual and progressive. It can take years for a sufferer to fully comprehend the problem; longer still to get it diagnosed and treated. Another study found sufferers can wait up to a decade to seek help, and will often deny there’s a problem at all in the interim.

Sufferers often report difficulty with thinking, concentration, and even finding simple enthusiasm. This can slowly, subtly reshape the brain over time.

Thomas Behrens, Head of the Centre for Applied Audiology Research at Oticon, said hearing loss can make even the most casual everyday activities enormously tiring.

“When hearing is compromised, such as with hearing loss, the sound signal that the brain is accustomed to processing is different and it takes more effort to fill in the blanks,” he said.

“People may respond by withdrawing socially because it’s just too exhausting to try to keep up. Social isolation and the resulting depression and health issues have long been recognised as increased risk factors for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease”.

This new study, however, suggests a hearing aid could be all it takes for many to become socially active again – or at least help fulfil the amount of social activity the brain requires.

If you suspect, even for a second, that your hearing could be at risk, be mindful of the long-term consequences of ignoring these concerns. A quick, free checkup is all it takes to ensure peace of mind.

This simple, proactive action today could ensure healthier, happier outlook in the years to come.

hearing-testBook now and go into the draw to win one of 20 Apple Watches!

This post is sponsored by AudioClinic. It was written as we feel it brings valuable insights into a subject important to the Starts at 60 community. For more information, please visit the, AudioClinic website.

*Free hearing check-up is only available to persons aged 26 years or older.

  1. This is all true. My father was prescribed hearing aid in his 50s. He refused to wear them. It was frustrating because he would be regularly tested and given new hearing aids free. Then when he got home he would put them in a drawer. By the time he was 80 he was experiencing serious mental health issues. And by serious I mean full blown paranoid psychotic episodes. He spent 6 weeks in HDU of the local mental health facility and the psychiatrist talked to me about his deafness and how it had contributed to his mental illness. He had to wear his hearing aids to reconnect to the real world. Once he started wearing his hearing aids and was on medication that stabilised his condition he greatly improved. He was amazed at the sounds around him. He was a stubborn old man and he paid a dreadful price.

  2. Have worn hearing aids for 30 years (I’m 61) and my quality of life improved overnight! I can totally understand how being deaf could lead to isolation which in turn could lead to all kinds of mental health issues

  3. My audiologist nags me about this but there is a difference when you knowingly embrace the silence.

  4. Rob smith  

    I was told to get hearing aids by my doctor…..I did the tests and got a pair of hearing aids. They cost $6000.00 .
    The technician then proceeded to tell me not to use them in noisy places. I work in a noisy place. Restaurants and pubs are noisy places. My workshop is noisy. Therefore I rarely use them because they just amplify all the noise. Waste of money !

  5. Pamela  

    My hearing deteriorated from my teens and I used continually stronger hearing aids.
    Eventually they were simply amplifying blurred sound and I became more isolated.
    About 10 years ago, I got my first cochlear implant – the difference was miraculous.
    Then about 5 years ago I got my second implant.
    Tho background noise can still be a problem, in quieter situations I can hear/understand 100% and my life is so much more outgoing/social than before.
    I recommend them for anyone using hearing aids that are no longer sufficiently helpful.

  6. It is obvious that if you have developed and hearing problem, it could possibly lead to mental distress; causing cognitive decline. So a hearing aid is a must for anyone who is suffering from hearing loss of even the slightest extent, as it will prevent further problems.

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