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Hearing Aids Could Lower Dementia, Depression Risk


September 11, 2019

For older adults with newly diagnosed hearing loss, getting a hearing aid (HA) may be associated with lower risk of dementia, depression, and anxiety over 3 years, as well as lower risk of fall-related injuries.

In order to clarify the effects of receiving a HA on outcomes in adults aged 66 years and older, the researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study using 2008 to 2016 claims data from a large private payer involving 114,862 adults diagnosed with hearing loss from.

Overall, 11.3% of women and 13.3% of men (approximately 13.6% of whites vs 9.8% of blacks and 6.5% of Hispanics) with hearing loss used HAs. For those using HAs, the risk-adjusted hazard ratios of diagnosis with Alzheimer disease/dementia, anxiety/depression, and fall-related injuries within 3 years after hearing loss diagnosis were 0.82, 0.89, and 0.87, respectively, compared with those who did not use HAs.

“Use of HAs is associated with delayed diagnosis of Alzheimer disease, dementia, depression, anxiety, and injurious falls among older adults with hearing loss. 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 researchers concluded.

—Michael Potts

Reference:

Mahmoudi E, Basu T, Langa K, et al. Can hearing aids delay time to diagnosis of dementia, depression, or falls in older adults? [published online September 4, 2019]. JAGS. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgs.16109.

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