Health & Fit: Hearing aids may help delay dementia, depression in elders - Sport against depression in seniors - PressFrom - US

Health & Fit Hearing aids may help delay dementia, depression in elders

19:20  11 october  2019
19:20  11 october  2019 Source:

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Reference: “Can Hearing Aids Delay Time to Diagnosis of Dementia , Depression , or Falls in Older Adults?” by Elham Mahmoudi PhD; Tanima Basu MS; Kenneth Langa MD, PhD; Michael M. McKee MD, MPH; Philip Zazove MD; Neil Alexander MD; and Neil Kamdar MA, 4 September 2019, Journal of the

Hearing aids lower the chance of dementia , depression , and falling. She continues, "Though hearing aids can't be said to prevent these conditions, a delay in the onset of dementia , depression and anxiety, and the risk of serious falls could be significant both for the patient and for the costs to

(Reuters Health) - 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.

  Hearing aids may help delay dementia, depression in elders © BanksPhotos/Getty Images

Among 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.

More than 27 million older Americans live with hearing loss. But only 12.3% of those with a formal diagnosis get hearing aids, the authors note.

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Hearing aids may help with more than just your ears. A study found that people with hearing loss who use hearing aids are less likely to have Hearing aids can improve a person’s ability to hear — plus, they may reduce the risk of dementia , depression , and falls, a University of Michigan study found.

Hearing aids might be worth their steep cost if they mitigate the risk of dementia , as recent research shows. That’s huge news for seniors and their families, since an investment in hearing aids could help stave off, or at least delay , some of the massive caregiving costs associated with Alzheimer’s

"Prevalence of hearing loss is estimated to increase as our population grows older, and we know there are strong associations between uncorrected hearing loss and conditions such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia," lead author Dr. Elham Mahmoudi of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor told Reuters Health by email.

Past research has linked prolonged sensory deprivation - such as loss of hearing - with social isolation and cognitive decline, the study team notes. Hearing loss has also been tied to depression, anxiety and balance trouble with increased risk of falls.

Using insurance claims data, Mahmoudi's team studied 114,862 people age 66 and older with hearing loss.

"For each patient, data was collected over four years - one year before they were diagnosed with hearing loss, and three years after," Mahmoudi said. "This was done to ensure the patient had not been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, depression or anxiety, and injuries from falls in the year before their diagnosis."

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"Though hearing aids can't be said to prevent these conditions, a delay in the onset of dementia , depression and anxiety, and the risk of serious The study also confirms previous studies' findings that people with hearing loss had much higher rates of dementia , depression and fall injuries than

Physician Frank Lin says treating hearing loss could help fight cognitive decline as he estimates 36% of dementia risk linked to hearing impairment.

Only 12.3% of the study subjects used hearing aids, the authors found. Hearing aid use was more common among men (13.3%) than women (11.3%), and among non-Hispanic whites (13.6%) compared to black (9.8%) or Hispanic (6.5%) people.

The gender and race differences are significant, the authors note, because the cognitive conditions being studied are more common among women than men, and among African-Americans compared to whites.

Hearing aid use was highest in north-central states at almost 37%, and lowest, at 6%, in the mountain states.

While everyone in the study had health insurance, hearing aids are typically not covered or only partly covered, and the cost falls on the individual, the study team points out. On average, hearing aids cost between $2,000 and $7,000.

"We not only need to advocate for insurance coverage for hearing aids, but also educate the public about the risks of uncorrected hearing loss," Mahmoudi said.

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Hearing loss and dementia might share a common, unknown cause, for instance. Or, elderly people who are hard of hearing might have extra difficulties coping with declining mental function. Further, the social isolation and loneliness sometimes brought about by hearing impairment could also fuel the

The aging U.S. population makes this study significant, noted Dr. Linda McEvoy of the University of California, San Diego, who wasn't involved in the research.

The study lacked data on patients' education levels, socioeconomic status or lifestyle that could influence the risks for dementia and other study outcomes. This, McEvoy said, is an important limitation.

"If hearing aid users in the current study have higher levels of education than non-users, then some of the protective associations of using the aid may be the effect of education, not the hearing aids," McEvoy said in an email.

The study wasn't designed to determine how hearing aids might reduce risk for physical and mental decline, and randomized clinical trials to test if hearing aids have this protective effect are needed, the study team notes.

Until then, Mahmoudi believes, it would help to make hearing aids more affordable.

"Beyond the costs, low prevalence of hearing aid use has been linked to complexity of the hearing-care system in the U.S., stigma, and poor perceived benefit and need," she said. "People also do not have a single point of contact."

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Though you may not be able to avoid dementia as you age, lifestyle changes may help delay cognitive decline. Research links hearing loss with an increased risk of dementia .

Although hearing aids are expensive, she noted, "the costs of the conditions they could prevent or delay are substantially more expensive."

McEvoy agrees.

"The costs of caring for cognitively-impaired older adults are high. If hearing loss contributes to that risk, then hearing aids may be an easily implemented solution to reduce some of that burden on our healthcare system."

SOURCE: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, online September 4, 2019.

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a group of people preparing food in a kitchen: You might feel silly, but unleashing your inner pop star and belting out some music while practicing your moves can make you feel years younger. “Simple acts like singing and dancing to your favorite music can keep you young,” Yoon says. “I listen and dance to a wide range of music, from ’70s music to pop. Singing strengthens muscles in the airway, which improves lung function and mental alertness by delivering more oxygen to the brain. Plus, it’s just so fun.”

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