Wearing a hearing aid reduces the risk of dementia associated with deafness

Hearing loss that occurs as a result of aging, known as presbycusis, contributes to the social isolation of older adults and, if left unchecked, can increase the chances of cognitive decline. In fact, a new study shows that people with hearing loss who do not use earphones may be at increased risk of dementia what people without hearing loss.

The results have been published in The Lancet Public Health and suggest that using a hearing aid may lower this risk to that of people who do not have hearing problems. Approximately 8% of dementia cases worldwide would be related to hearing impairment, according to data from the Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention and care published in 2020, so appropriate intervention could be key to reduce the global burden of dementia.

“Evidence is accumulating that hearing loss may be the modifiable risk factor most impactful for dementia in midlife, but the effectiveness of hearing aid use in reducing dementia risk in the real world remains unclear. Our study provides the best evidence to date to suggest that Hearing aids could be a cost-effective, minimally invasive treatment to mitigate the potential impact of hearing loss on dementia,” said Professor Dongshan Zhu, Shandong University, China, and corresponding author of the paper.

The researchers analyzed data from 437,704 people from the UK Biobank database, whose hearing loss and hearing aid use were reported through questionnaires, while data from hospital and health care records were used to ascertain dementia diagnoses. deaths. The average age of the participants at the time of recruitment was 56 years and the average follow-up time was 12 years.

Compared with people who heard well, those with hearing loss who did not wear hearing aids had a 42% increased risk of all-cause dementia

Approximately three quarters of the participants (325,882) had no hearing loss, and the remainder (111,822) had some degree of hearing loss. Among people with hearing loss, 11.7% (13,092) used a hearing aid. The results suggest that, compared with hearing participants, those with hearing loss who did not wear hearing aids had a 42% increased risk of all-cause dementia, while no increased risk was found in people with hearing loss who they wore headphones. This equates to approximately a 1.7% risk of dementia in individuals with hearing loss who do not use hearing aids, compared to 1.2% among those with or without hearing loss who use hearing aids.

Hearing aids help prevent cognitive decline

“About four fifths of people who experience hearing loss do not use hearing aids in the UK. Hearing loss can begin as early as the age of 40, and there is evidence that the gradual cognitive decline before a dementia diagnosis It can last 20 to 25 years. Our findings highlight the urgent need for the early introduction of hearing aids when someone begins to experience hearing impairment. A common, whole-of-society effort is needed, including raising awareness about hearing loss and possible links to dementia, increasing accessibility to hearing aids by reducing cost, and more support for primary care workers to detect hearing problems , raising awareness and providing treatment, such as hearing aid fittings,” explains Dongshan Zhu.

The study authors also analyzed the effects that other factors might have on the association between hearing loss and dementia, such as loneliness and social isolation and depressive symptoms, and found that improving psychosocial problems could eliminate less than 8%. of the association between hearing aid use and decreased risk of dementia. According to these experts, this indicates that the association between hearing aid use and protection against increased dementia is probably mainly due to the direct effects of hearing aids rather than the indirect causes investigated.

“The underlying pathways that may link hearing aid use and dementia risk reduction are unclear. More research is needed to establish a causal relationship and the presence of underlying pathways,” says study author Dr. Fan Jiang, from Shandong University, who concludes that “it is clear that the treatment of hearing loss is a promising way to reduce dementia risk. This is the time to increase awareness and detection of hearing loss, as well as the acceptability and use of hearing aids.”

Charles Marshall, Professor of Neurology in the Preventive Neurology Unit at Queen Mary University of London (United Kingdom), has explained in statements to SMC Spain: “This study provides high-quality evidence that people with hearing loss who use hearing aids have a lower risk of dementia than those with hearing loss who do not use them. This raises the possibility that a portion of dementia cases could be prevented by using hearing aids to correct hearing loss. However, the observational nature of this study makes it difficult to be sure that hearing aids are actually the cause of reduced dementia risk.” He adds that he hopes that “data from this study will lead to randomized trials of hearing aid use that will provide a stronger basis for public health advice on whether correcting hearing loss can help prevent dementia.” .

Source: www.webconsultas.com

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