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Hearing devices may offer added benefits for some

Thu, Sep 26, 2019

Hand cupping an ear, straining to hear

Older adults might find themselves less likely to suffer from dementia, depression and falls by using a hearing aid, according to a recent study.

 

Hearing loss has long been linked to an increased likelihood of neurological and mental-health-related conditions such as dementia, depression and anxiety. It’s also been linked to an increased risk of falls.

 

A new study in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society says hearing device use among older Americans may significantly reduce the likelihood of these health issues.

 

“Use of hearing aids among adults with hearing loss was associated with delay or prevention of three common and important age-related conditions: Alzheimer disease or dementia, depression or anxiety, and fall-related injuries,” study authors wrote. “Timely diagnosis of hearing loss and early use of hearing aids may delay the diagnosis of cognitive decline and reduce the risk of injurious falls.”

 

The study used data from nearly 115,000 individuals who were over 66 years old and had hearing loss. It noted the positive outcomes of those with hearing loss who wore a hearing aid versus the outcomes of those who did not.

 

According to the study, wearing a hearing aid reduced:

  • The risk of being diagnosed with dementia by 18 percent
  • The risk of being diagnosed with depression by 11 percent
  • The risk of fall-related injuries by 13 percent

The study’s findings offer another reason to bring attention to the importance of better hearing loss management, says Dr. Andrea Federman, an audiologist with The Hearing Center BayCare Clinic in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

 

“This study highlights the importance of undergoing a complete hearing evaluation when you suspect you or a loved one has hearing loss,” Federman says. “Many of today’s hearing aid models are small and discreet and offer solutions for a range of hearing conditions. Consult with an audiologist to better understand your hearing-loss needs.”

 

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BayCare Clinic, baycare.net, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.