Hearing aid use linked to a reduction in risk of cognitive decline

Dec 14, 2022
The study found that people who experienced hearing loss and wore hearing aids scored better on cognitive tests and experienced a reduction in long-term cognitive decline. Source: Getty Images.

Researchers have long been aware of the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline, but whether treatment for hearing loss could help reduce cognitive decline has remained a mystery.

Researchers involved in the Association of Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants With Cognitive Decline and Dementia A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis set out to answer such questions in an analysis of 31 studies with 137,484 participants which examined the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline across two to 25 years.

Following the analysis, researchers found that people who experienced hearing loss and wore hearing aids scored better on cognitive tests and experienced a reduction in long-term cognitive decline.

“The usage of hearing restorative devices by participants with hearing loss was associated with a 19% decrease in hazards of long-term cognitive decline,” the researchers said.

“Furthermore, usage of these devices was significantly associated with a 3% improvement in cognitive test scores that assessed general cognition in the short term.”

While the research presents promising findings in the effectiveness of hearing aids when it comes to reducing cognitive decline, researchers stressed that further study is required.

“A cognitive benefit of hearing restorative devices should be further investigated in randomized trials,” researchers explained.

The latest findings follow recent groundbreaking research that has shown positive signs in decreasing the rate of cognitive decline among Alzheimer’s patients.

During the Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, November 30, pharmaceutical company, Eisai, presented data from their successful phase 3 clinical trial of the Alzheimer’s drug, lecanemab.

The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrated that the drug was able to slow the rate of decline in people’s memory and thinking as well as function over 18 months, and also helped people manage day-to-day activities.

The study, conducted by Eisai and Biogen, involved a total of 1795 participants in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, with 898 of the participants assigned to receive lecanemab and 897 to receive placebo.

Over 18 months, the rate of cognitive decline among participants slowed by 27 per cent when compared to those who received the placebo.

Chief Executive Officer at Biogen, Michel Vounatsos said the “announcement gives patients and their families hope that lecanemab, if approved, can potentially slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and provide a clinically meaningful impact on cognition and function”.

Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, Dr Susan Kohlhaas said the findings “represent a major step forward for dementia research and could herald a new era for people with Alzheimer’s disease”.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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