A new long-term study has revealed that wearing hearing aids reduces cognitive decline associated with hearing loss. “Self-Reported Hearing Loss: Hearing Aids and Cognitive Decline in Elderly Adults: A 25-year Study,” recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, compared the trajectory of cognitive decline among older adults who were using hearing aids and those who were not.
The study found no difference in the rate of cognitive decline between the control group of people with no reported hearing loss and people with hearing loss who used hearing aids. By contrast, untreated hearing loss was significantly associated lower baseline scores on the Mini-Mental State Examination, a well-established test of cognitive function, during the 25-year follow-up period, independent of age, sex and education
Professor Hélène Amieva, a leading researcher in the Neuropsychology and Epidemiology of Aging at the University of Bordeaux, France, headed up the study which followed 3,670 adults, age 65 and older over a 25-year period as part of the Personnes Agèes QUID cohort (PAQUID), a cohort specifically designed to study brain aging. Professor Amieva shared the study’s early findings at hearing aid manufacturer Oticon’s 2014 OtiCongress, a knowledge-sharing event that explored cognitive health and the benefits of Oticon’s BrainHearing technology.
Improved communication made possible by hearing aids resulted in improved mood, social interactions and cognitively stimulating abilities and is the most likely underlying reason for the decreased cognitive decline reported in the study, Oticon reported. For nearly 20 years, Oticon researchers at the Eriksholm research center have focused on the development of BrainHearing technologies that help the brain make sense of sound so that people with a hearing impairment can maintain or regain the ability and mental energy to engage socially. The study findings strengthen Oticon’s commitment to a “brain first” approach to designing hearing solutions.”
Brain First Hearing Solutions
Rather than emphasize amplification and suppression of sounds, Oticon’s “brain first” audiological approach recognizes that speech understanding and comprehension are cognitive processes that happen in the brain.
“BrainHearing technology allows wearers a customized fit that is personalized to their unique hearing loss and sound preferences for a more natural listening experience and better speech understanding with less effort,” said Doctor of Audiology, David Patterson, Au.D., R.Aud, Aud(c) and Head of Audiology for Pindrop Hearing Centres. “As a result of this and other leading research, we are continually educating our patients about the connection between hearing, hearing solutions and cognition.”