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Study: Hearing aids may help older adults delay dementia, depression, anxiety, and falls

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Hear­ing Aids Linked to Low­er Risk of Demen­tia, Depres­sion and Falls, Study Finds (Michi­gan Health Lab):

Old­er adults who get a hear­ing aid for a new­ly diag­nosed hear­ing loss have a low­er risk of being diag­nosed with demen­tia, depres­sion or anx­i­ety in the fol­low­ing three years, and a low­er risk of suf­fer­ing fall-relat­ed injuries, than those who leave their hear­ing loss uncor­rect­ed, a new study finds.

Elham Mah­mou­di, M.B.A, Ph.D., the U‑M Depart­ment of Fam­i­ly Med­i­cine health econ­o­mist who led the study, says it con­firms what oth­er research has shown among patients stud­ied at a sin­gle point in time – but the new find­ings show dif­fer­ences emerg­ing as time goes on … “Though hear­ing aids can’t be said to pre­vent these con­di­tions, a delay in the onset of demen­tia, depres­sion and anx­i­ety, and the risk of seri­ous falls, could be sig­nif­i­cant both for the patient and for the costs to the Medicare sys­tem” …

In all, the rel­a­tive risk of being diag­nosed with demen­tia, includ­ing Alzheimer’s dis­ease, with­in three years of a hear­ing loss diag­no­sis was 18% low­er for hear­ing aid users. The risk of being diag­nosed with depres­sion or anx­i­ety by the end of three years was 11% low­er for hear­ing aid users, and the risk of being treat­ed for fall-relat­ed injuries was 13% low­er…

The study only includ­ed indi­vid­u­als who billed their insur­ance com­pa­ny for part of the cost of their hear­ing aid, Mah­mou­di notes. The com­ing of FDA-approved over-the-counter hear­ing aids in 2020 for peo­ple with mild to mod­er­ate hear­ing loss could make the devices much more acces­si­ble for many peo­ple.”

The Study:

Can Hear­ing Aids Delay Time to Diag­no­sis of Demen­tia, Depres­sion, or Falls in Old­er Adults? (Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Geri­atrics Soci­ety)

  • OBJECTIVE: To exam­ine the asso­ci­a­tion between hear­ing aids (HAs) and time to diag­no­sis of Alzheimer dis­ease (AD) or demen­tia, anx­i­ety or depres­sion, and inju­ri­ous falls among adults, aged 66 years and old­er, with­in 3 years of hear­ing loss (HL) diag­no­sis.
  • PARTICIPANTS: The par­tic­i­pants includ­ed 114 862 adults, aged 66 years and old­er, diag­nosed with HL.
  • MEASUREMENT: Diag­no­sis of (1) AD or demen­tia; (2) depres­sion or anx­i­ety; and (3) inju­ri­ous falls.
  • INTERVENTION: Use of HAs.
  • CONCLUSIONS: Use of HAs is asso­ci­at­ed with delayed diag­no­sis of AD, demen­tia, depres­sion, anx­i­ety, and inju­ri­ous falls among old­er adults with HL. Although we have shown an asso­ci­a­tion between use of HAs and reduced risk of phys­i­cal and men­tal decline, ran­dom­ized tri­als are need­ed to deter­mine whether, and to what extent, the rela­tion­ship is causal.

The Study in Context:

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  1. Mariette Bassano says:

    I tru­ly appre­ci­ate this arti­cle. Much thanks again. Much oblig­ed.

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