People with a mild cognitive impairment who use hearing aids are at a much lower risk of developing dementia, the study finds.
In the recent years, several other studies have found that the use of hearing aids reduces cognitive decline. But this study is said to be the first that has studied the effect on people with a mild cognitive impairment.
Significantly lower risk
The study found that the participants with mild cognitive impairment who used hearing aids were at significantly lower risk of developing all-cause dementia compared to those who did not use hearing aids. The use of hearing aids use was in fact independently associated with reduced dementia risk.
Among the major findings in the study was that the percentage of participants who did not convert from mild cognitive impairment to dementia 5 years after was 19% for non–hearing aid users and 33% for individuals who used hearing aids.
Treatment of hearing loss is important
In the study, the authors conclude that slower conversion from mild cognitive impairment to dementia in individuals using hearing aids suggests that effective identification and treatment of hearing loss may reduce the cumulative incidence of dementia.
The authors of the study suggest that higher-level cognitive processing involving memory when having an untreated hearing loss hearing might be compromised because of mental resources being reallocated to perception and away from storing information.
About the study
2,114 persons with both hearing loss and cognitive decline ranging from mild cognitive impairment to dementia participated in the study. 1,246 of the participants used hearing aids, 768 did not.
The study, “Association of the use of hearing aids with the conversion from mild cognitive impairment to dementia and progression of dementia: A longitudinal retrospective study”, was published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions.
Sources: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov and the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions