The risk of dementia, depression and even anxiety is lower for older adults who get a hearing aid for a newly diagnosed hearing loss, according to a new study. It could even reduce the risk of injuries related to falls.
"We already know that people with hearing loss have more adverse health events, and more co-existing conditions, but this study allows us to see the effects of an intervention and look for associations between hearing aids and health outcomes," study author Elham Mahmoudi, MBA, Ph.D., the U-M Department of Family Medicine health economist, told a news portal.
For the study, researchers from the University of Michigan analysed data of close to 115,000 people, who were over 60-years-old and with hearing loss.
Researchers made note of each participant's health status a year before they were diagnosed with hearing loss and their health outcomes three years later. The results showed men in this group had a higher chance of receiving a hearing aid that women. The team discovered those who received a hearing aid were less likely to develop dementia or depression.
"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 the Medicare system," Mahmoudi told a news portal. Adding, "Correcting hearing loss is an intervention that has evidence behind it, and we hope our research will help clinicians and people with hearing loss understand the potential association between getting a hearing aid and other aspects of their health."
The study's findings were originally published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Another study found hearing loss could cause depression. "Most people over age 70 have at least mild hearing loss, yet relatively few are diagnosed, much less treated, for this condition," Justin S Golub, lead author of the study published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, told a news portal.
Adding, "Hearing loss is easy to diagnose and treat, and treatment may be even more important if it can help ease or prevent depression."
Previous research has also found a healthy diet could reduce the risk of hearing loss. "Interestingly, we observed that those following an overall healthy diet had a lower risk of moderate or worse hearing loss,"Sharon Curhan, first author of the study published in the Journal of Nutrition, told a news portal. Adding, "Eating well contributes to overall good health, and it may also be helpful in reducing the risk of hearing loss."
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