New study: hearing aid use linked to slower decline in thinking skills

A new study has found that hearing loss increases the risk of a precursor to dementia called mild cognitive impairment – but this increased risk is not present in people who wear hearing aids.
 
The study – which was co-funded by Dementias Platform UK (DPUK) – investigated the risk of cognitively healthy people developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
 
It found that hearing loss increases the risk of MCI, but that hearing aid use significantly reduces this risk.
 
MCI is a condition involving thinking and memory problems that are worse than the normal decline with age, but not bad enough to disrupt daily life and warrant a diagnosis of dementia.
 
Around 20% of people over 65 have MCI, and while some patients’ functioning remains at this level, 10-15% of those with MCI develop dementia.
 
The current work builds on the research team’s previous paper, which found that people with MCI who wore their hearing aids were less likely to develop dementia. The new study aimed to find interventions that can be put in place earlier in the dementia process to prevent the condition.
Full report: Dementias UK report 2022
 
Dementias Platform UK is a public-private partnership funded by the Medical Research Council to accelerate progress in dementia research. Visit http://www.dementiasplatform.uk for more information.

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