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Health & FitCan Hearing Aids Prevent Memory Problems?

20:00  05 september  2019
20:00  05 september  2019 Source:   consumerreports.org

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Find out if a hearing aid can prevent memory loss and delay signs of dementia. In a 2013 study, he and his colleagues tracked the overall cognitive abilities (including concentration, memory and planning skills) of nearly 2,000 older adults whose average age was 77.

There are distinct correlations between hearing loss and dementia. THe brain atrophies and social isolation develops when people do not address hearing loss. The downward spiral contributes to dementia.

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Can Hearing Aids Prevent Memory Problems? © Provided by Consumers Union of United States, Inc.

For people with hearing loss, using a hearing aid is associated with a reduced risk of three common health problems of aging—dementia, depression, and falls—according to a new study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

This study adds to the growing body of research that links hearing loss to memory issues and dementia. “Cognitive decline is much higher among people with hearing loss,” says study author Elham Mahmoudi, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of family medicine at the University of Michigan.

A teacher designed glittery hearing aids on dolls to make her deaf students feel represented

  A teacher designed glittery hearing aids on dolls to make her deaf students feel represented Genesis Politron, who teaches kindergarten and preschool for deaf and hard of hearing kids, couldn't find any dolls that resembled her students with hearing devices. So she crafted some on her own.Genesis Politron is a preschool and kindergarten teacher in Watsonville, California, who works with deaf and hard of hearing students.

Hearing aids stave off dementia. A French study that followed thousands of older people for 25 years recently People who used the assistive devices experienced memory issues at about the same rate as Hearing loss contributes dramatically to other problems that also are associated with dementia

Our hearing aid benefit programs give you everything you need to improve your hearing at the lowest possible out-of-pocket cost. We offer a wide variety of styles, colors, and features, from hearing aids that are essentially undetectable to devices that connect with your smart phone or TV.

The new study also suggests using hearing aids might help delay the onset of dementia in some people, and it's the largest study to date to look at this possible connection, according to Mahmoudi.

Here is what this and other research have shown about hearing loss and the brain, and what it all means for you.

The Hearing Aids-Dementia Connection

The new study found that people who received hearing aids in the three years after being diagnosed with hearing loss had lower rates of dementia, depression, and falls than those who didn’t get the devices.

To get these findings, University of Michigan researchers examined managed care insurance claims from 114,862 adults with hearing loss between 2008 and 2016. All were age 66 or older.

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Hearing aids . Hearing loss can't always be prevented – sometimes it's just part of getting older. But hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises is completely avoidable. There are some simple things you can do to help stop loud noises from permanently damaging your hearing , no matter how old you

In most cases, hearing aids won’t prevent or slow physical hearing loss. Only time will tell what will happen. By keeping the brain active, processing, and interpreting the information it receives, hearing aids can help slow down the loss of understanding, because they help maintain your brain level activity.

The researchers looked at the study subjects’ insurance claims for three years after their hearing loss diagnosis. They did this to determine which people with hearing loss had been prescribed a hearing aid, which had not, and which study subjects in both groups were later diagnosed with dementia, depression, or a fall-related injury. Then they compared the difference between the hearing aid group and the non-hearing aid group.

What Earlier Studies Have Found

A lot of prior research has found that hearing loss is connected with an increased risk of memory problems.

In a 2018 analysis published in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, researchers pooled the results of 36 studies and found that age-related hearing loss was linked to an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline and impairment.

(Other previous research has also linked hearing loss to depression and falling.)

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Pick Your Hearing Aid Problem . With new hearing technologies and consumer avenues for buying the hardware and audiologist services, many of THE PROBLEM You probably assume that hearing aids cost thousands of dollars —and generally, you’re right. Only a handful of companies manufacture

Hearing Aids Protect Against Cognitive Decline. Losing your hearing ? Using a hearing aid may offer a simple, yet important, way to prevent or slow the development of dementia by keeping adults with hearing loss engaged in mentally stimulating conversation and communication.

Fewer studies have been conducted on whether the use of a hearing aid might delay or prevent the onset of dementia, says Jennifer Deal, Ph.D., an assistant scientist in the department of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who wasn’t involved in the new study.

But like the new research, several small studies that have addressed the question in recent years have found that the use of hearing aids is linked with a lower risk of dementia.

How Hearing Loss Might Affect the Brain

Scientists don't have definitive answers about the effects of hearing loss on brain health. One theory, according to Deal, is that when your hearing is damaged, the brain must expend more effort to decode the sound signals it takes in, possibly at the expense of other brain functions.

Another hypothesis is that hearing loss changes the physical structure of the brain in a way that could harm memory—and some evidence from brain imaging studies supports this theory.

Hearing loss can also increase a person’s feeling of social isolation, because the condition makes it harder to communicate. And social isolation is linked to a number of health problems, from heart disease to Alzheimer’s disease.

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Hearing aids won't make your hearing perfect, but they make sounds louder and clearer, reducing the impact hearing loss has on your life. See your GP if you're having problems with your hearing . They can refer you to a hearing specialist for an assessment if they think you might need a hearing aid .

Hearing Problems . In this article. Structure of the ear. How do we hear ? What can cause hearing loss? Its other job is to seal off the middle ear and prevent it from damage by water and soap. Bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA) and contralateral routing of signal (CROS) hearing aids are

Could Hearing Loss Cause Dementia?

Neither prior studies nor the new one offer firm proof that hearing loss is a cause of dementia. In fact, it’s not clear yet what actually causes Alzheimer’s disease or some other types of dementia.

The new study was observational—meaning it looked only at data on existing health outcomes, rather than testing the effects of a hearing aid. So, while it found a pattern, it couldn't establish that hearing problems actually cause dementia.

And, say researchers, a number of other factors could have influenced the outcome of the study. For instance, the researchers weren’t able to factor in socioeconomic status in their analysis. That's important because people with more education and economic resources have been found to be less likely to experience cognitive decline as they age.

For scientists to be able to say definitively that hearing loss is a cause of dementia, a randomized controlled trial is needed, comparing similar groups of people, some of whom have their hearing loss treated with a hearing aid, and some who don’t.

Deal and her research team are currently conducting one such trial, so she hopes to be able to answer this question within a few years.

The Upside of Hearing Aids

While the new study found that for people with hearing loss, using hearing aids was associated with a lower risk of dementia, that doesn't mean aids can prevent dementia or even reduce risks.

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  Hearing aids may help delay dementia, depression in elders For older adults, hearing aids may delay some forms of mental and physical decline associated with hearing loss and aging, a U.S. study suggests. © BanksPhotos/Getty ImagesAmong people who'd been diagnosed with hearing loss, those who used hearing aids were up to 18% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia, depression or fall-related injuries over the next three years, compared to people not using the devices, researchers report in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

They found that although episodic memory declined significantly with age, the rate of decline was slower after participants began using hearing aids . Maharani and his fellow researchers did a similar study looking at whether correcting vision problems (specifically cataracts) could have a similar

Hearing aids may lessen the forgetfulness and mental confusion linked to moderate to severe hearing loss, a new study suggests. She and her colleagues write in the American Journal of Epidemiology that previous studies found a link to an increased risk between hearing loss and cognition problems .

It’s just too early to say, without the results of a randomized controlled trial.

Still, the upside of using these devices for hearing loss can be substantial. “If someone is considering a hearing aid, we do know that it should help improve the quality of life, help with communication,” Deal says. “We do know there are benefits, we just don’t know if cognition is one of them.”

What to Do If You Have Hearing Trouble

If you notice you’re having difficulty hearing—frequently turning the TV up, asking people to repeat themselves, or missing parts of in-person or over-the-phone conversations—see your doctor.

Hearing loss may be reversible, if it’s caused by a problem such as earwax clogging your ear canal, an infection, or a damaged ear drum. A doctor can evaluate your ears for potential physical problems that could be interfering.

And have your hearing tested. If the problem with your hearing isn’t fixable, you can find out how extensive the damage is. A hearing professional can tell you whether you might benefit from a hearing aid.

And if your healthcare providers think a hearing aid will help you, it’s best to start using the device sooner rather than later. “Research suggests that the earlier you adopt [a hearing aid], the better the outcome,” Deal says.

Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising.

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