Hearing Aid Use Improves Cognitive Function in Hearing-Impaired Elderly

Dementia Study2

A recent study at Columbia University Medical Center revealed that hearing-impaired seniors who wear hearing aids perform significantly better with cognitive tasks than seniors who don’t wear hearing aids, despite their poor hearing. Researchers also directly linked cognitive function and hearing ability in seniors who don’t wear hearing aids.

More than 50% of seniors age 75 and over have some degree of hearing loss, but less than 15% of them wear hearing aids. Earlier studies show that hearing-impaired seniors have a higher risk of falls, social isolation and dementia than seniors without hearing loss. Researchers have also proven that wearing hearing aids often improves the functional, social and emotional consequences of hearing loss.

The Columbia University study included 100 seniors with hearing loss between the ages of 80 and 99. Only 34 of the participants regularly wear hearing aids. First, researchers gave participants hearing exams to determine their level of hearing loss. Then, scientists evaluated cognitive function using the Mini-Mental State Examination, where participants gave spoken responses to verbal commands.

Seniors who regularly wore hearing aids performed significantly better on the tests. The non-wearer participants with severe to profound hearing loss had lower scores than seniors with better hearing.

Head researcher Dr. Anil K. Lalwani says, “Our study suggests that 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 conversation and communication.”

If you think you have untreated hearing loss, our audiologists can help. Call Audio Help in Manhattan and New York City at 888-832-9966 to schedule your hearing evaluation today!