Wearing hearing aid may help protect brain in later life

Posted on July 16, 2019

New study has concluded that people who wear a hearing aid for age-related hearing problems maintain better brain function over time than those who do not.

New research suggests that wearing a hearing aid may mitigate potential dementia. Research was conducted by the University of Exeter and King’s College London and is presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in LA. In the PROTECT online study of 25,000 people aged 50 or over.

Findings provide early evidence that encouraging people to wear an effective hearing aid may help to protect their brains and reduce their risk of dementia. Indeed, results shows that the group who wore hearing aids performed better in measures assessing working memory and aspects of attention than those who did not. On one attention measure, people who wore hearing aids showed faster reaction times – a reflection of concentration.

Research in the past has shown that hearing loss is linked to a loss of brain function, memory and an increased risk of dementia. This work helps to look at the impact of wearing a hearing aid and suggests that wearing a hearing aid could protect the brain. More research and clinical trial is needed to test this and feed into policy to help keep people healthy in later life.

Professor Clive Ballard, of the University of Exeter Medical School, said: "We know that we could reduce dementia risk by a third if we all took action from midlife. This research is part of an essential body of work to find out what really works to keep our brains healthy. This is an early finding and needs more investigation, yet it has exciting potential. The message here is that if you're advised you need a hearing aid, find one that works for you. At the very least it will improve your hearing and it could help keep your brain sharp too."


Source material from Science Daily


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