CNN Health recently published an article that shared the findings of a systematic review and meta-analysis conducted by JAMA Neurology.
The question that this in-depth study was looking to answer was:
Do hearing aids and cochlear implants decrease the risk of subsequent cognitive decline in individuals with hearing loss?
This worldwide trial included 13 studies conducted in Europe, 12 studies conducted in North America, 3 studies conducted in Asia, and 2 studies conducted in Australasia.
It included a meta-analysis of 31 studies with 137,484 participants, both observational and trials. The research looked at the association between hearing loss and cognitive decline over a range of durations, from two to 25 years.
It is one of the most in-depth studies that has ever been carried out on the connection between cognitive decline and hearing aids/cochlear implants.
What were the key findings of this study?
There were two significant findings:
Firstly, the use of hearing aids was associated with a 19% reduction in long-term cognitive decline. “Dementia is far easier to prevent than treat, and exceedingly difficult to reverse,” said senior study author Dr. Benjamin Tan, Dean’s Fellow at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore.
Secondly, “Encouragingly, even patients who already started with mild cognitive impairment (“early dementia”)… benefitted from the use of hearing aids, as they also had approximately 20% lower risk of progressing to dementia.” This means that it is never too late to start using hearing aids, but early treatment may help to preserve the most cognition.
The “meaning” and outcome of the report shared:
“In this meta-analysis, the usage of hearing aids and cochlear implants is associated with a decreased risk of subsequent cognitive decline; physicians should strongly encourage their patients with hearing loss to adopt such devices.”
This highly conclusive study that was conducted on 137,484 participants is the most conclusive and in-depth research carried out on the connection between cognitive decline and hearing aids/cochlear implants.
The Cognitive Disorder Atlas
If more people understand the sheer impact of a cognitive disorder, they would be taking the actions today to protect their cognitive health.
I recently discovered an incredible poster that shares an intuitive look at 100 fascinating cognitive disorders as well as their origin, including the involved brain regions and summaries of each disorder group.
It truly is fascinating.
The most important lesson that you should take from reading this article is the importance of regularly testing your hearing.
Although many people prioritize an annual eye test, dental check, or physical, too many people still wait until they experience a hearing challenge before they choose to visit their local doctor of audiology.
By prioritizing a regular hearing assessment, you can ensure that you can proactively catch any potential hearing losses as early as possible and make the relevant preventative decisions to protect your long-term hearing health and your cognitive health.