Use of hearing aids (HA) is associated with delayed diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), dementia, depression, anxiety and injurious falls among older adults with hearing loss (HL), according to a new research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
The study included 114,862 adults aged at least 66 years who were diagnosed with HL, of which 14,109 people used hearing aids. Approximately 11.3 per cent of women versus 13.3 per cent of men used hearing aids.
It found the risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease/dementia, anxiety/depression and injurious falls within three years after being diagnosed with hearing loss was 18 per cent, 11 per cent and 13 per cent lower, respectively, for those who used hearing aids versus those who did not.
The authors suggested that by providing enhanced hearing input, HAs may facilitate greater social engagement, lower levels of effort to recognise sounds and speech, lower levels of depression or anxiety symptoms, higher levels of physical balance and greater feelings of independence and self-efficacy.
“Although we have shown an association between use of hearing aids and reduced risk of physical and mental decline, randomised trials are needed to determine whether, and to what extent, the relationship is causal,” the authors wrote.