Living with untreated hearing loss can be very isolating. Research shows that treating your hearing loss with hearing aids can improve more than just your ability to hear; it can help lower your risk of developing depression and dementia, and it can also decrease your risk of falling.
How Hearing Aids Can Help
The research, published in the September 2019 edition of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, examined the association between hearing aids and a number of health issues within three years of a hearing loss diagnosis.
Data from a total of 114,862 patients ages 66 and older who were diagnosed with hearing loss between 2008 and 2016 was used in this study. The researchers looked at the rates of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, depression or anxiety diagnosis as well as injuries from falls.
The researchers determined that the use of hearing aids reduced:
- The risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer disease or dementia by 18%.
- The risk of being diagnosed with depression or anxiety by 11%.
- The risk of fall-related injuries by 13%.
Falls are dangerous, especially for the elderly. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every five falls causes a serious head injury, and more than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling. A fall can happen anywhere, from slipping on black ice to tripping over a tree root while out for a walk in Mt. Tabor Park. This why it is so important to help prevent a fall when given the opportunity.
Who Wears Hearing Aids?
In addition to looking at how hearing aids can help reduce the risk of developing certain medical conditions, the researchers were also interested in who wore their hearing aids. They determined that only 12% of participants who were diagnosed with hearing loss actually wore their hearing aids. When broken down by demographics, the researchers determined there was a difference between genders and races.
- 3% of women wore hearing aids compared to 13.3% of men.
- 5% of those with Latino heritage wore hearing aids compared to 9.8% of African Americans and 13.6% of white participants.
To learn more about the benefits of hearing aids or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, contact Oregon Ear, Nose & Throat Center today.