Hearing aids are the most popular treatment method for hearing loss, but only about 20% of those who could benefit from these devices actually wear them. Researchers out of the University of Michigan hope their study can help encourage those with hearing loss to seek treatment.
Hearing Aids Do More than Help You Hear
Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss with an increase in cognitive decline, feelings of depression and anxiety, problems walking and chance of falling. Falling can be incredibly detrimental, as in addition to motor vehicle crashes, falls are the leading cause of injury and death in older adults.
This should demonstrate the importance of treating hearing loss and stepping carefully if you enjoy hiking at the Keystone trail.
Study Purpose and Design
Dr. Elham Mahmoudi was the lead researcher for the study entitled “Can Hearing Aids Delay Time to Diagnosis of Dementia, Depression, or Falls in Older Adults?” Her goal was to look beyond the connection between untreated hearing loss and numerous health conditions to actually show the benefits of intervention.
The team looked at data from 114,862 adults ages 66 and up who were diagnosed with hearing loss between 2008 and 2016. The researchers reviewed health information one year before a hearing loss diagnosis and the three years after. They collected data on the use of hearing aids and the diagnosis of any new health conditions, including dementia, depression, anxiety and injuries from falls.
The researchers determined there was a significant difference between those who chose to treat their hearing loss with hearing aids and those who did not. They found that wearing hearing aids reduced the risk of:
- Developing dementia by 18%
- Being diagnosed with depression or anxiety by 11%
- Fall-related injuries by 13%
Dr. Mahmoudi also set out to gather data on hearing aid adoption rate. Her team determined that only 12% of those with a diagnosed hearing loss chose to wear a hearing aid.
She hopes her research will help inspire patients living with untreated hearing loss to seek treatment and for clinicians to understand the positive health benefits seen with use of hearing aids.
To learn more about the benefits of treating your hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with a hearing professional, contact Central Plains ENT today.