03
March
2020
|
02:06
Australia/Melbourne

Hearing aids may delay cognitive decline

Summary

Hearing aids may delay cognitive decline and improve brain function in older Australians, according to a new research study from the University of Melbourne.

Researchers tested the use of hearing aids in almost 100 adults aged 62-82 years with hearing loss. These participants were assessed on their hearing, cognitive function, speech perception, quality of life, physical activity, loneliness, mood and medical health – both before and 18 months after having a hearing aid fitted.

After 18 months of wearing hearing aids, researchers found participants’ speech perception, listening and quality of life had significantly improved. Most notably, more than 97% of participants showed either significant improvement or stability in executive function, which is the ability to plan, organise information and initiate tasks.

Bupa has welcomed this research and encourages anyone who is having trouble with their hearing to get a hearing test. Simon Davis, Head of Audiology at Bupa Hearing said “we know cognitive decline worsens with hearing loss – there is a clear link. 

“In Australia, nearly 1 in 10 people over the age of 65 have dementia, and it is the leading cause of disability within this age cohort. Further medical research on the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline and brain function is important, including the role of hearing aids and cochlear implants in delaying the onset of cognitive decline.”
Simon Davis, Head of Audiology at Bupa Hearing

“The study found regular use of hearing aids was associated with greater improvements in cognitive function, and women were much more diligent at wearing hearing aids than men. Today’s hearing aids are more discreet than they used to be and offer a range of improved functions, such as better performance in noisy environments, reduced wind noise as well as wireless connectivity.”

“It’s important to speak to your audiologist about your hearing aid or aids if you don’t like wearing them. Audiologists can adjust it or find a different one to suit your needs. The most important thing is to wear it regularly. Hearing aids could help keep you sharper for longer and enjoying life to its fullest,” Mr Davis said.

Bupa encourages anyone who is having trouble with their hearing to get a hearing test. Find out more about Bupa’s audiology services and hearing assessments here.This study was published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine. You can read more about the research in the University of Melbourne’s Pursuit.