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Hearing Aids May Mitigate Cognitive Decline, Memory Loss

Use of hearing aids tied to better episodic memory scores in longitudinal study

hearing aid

THURSDAY, April 19, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Using hearing aids may slow cognitive decline in later life, according to a study published online April 10 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Asri Maharani, Ph.D., from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues used data from the Health and Retirement Study to determine whether hearing aid use alters cognitive trajectories in older adults. The 2,040 adults (aged ≥50 years) included in the analysis participated in a minimum of three waves of the study.

The researchers found that hearing aid use was positively associated with episodic memory scores (P < 0.001). Compared to before use of hearing aids (P < 0.001), declines in episodic memory scores were slower after use began (P < 0.001). These results were maintained even after adjustment for multiple confounders.

"Hearing aids may have a mitigating effect on trajectories of cognitive decline in later life," the authors write. "Providing hearing aids or other rehabilitative services for hearing impairment much earlier in the course of hearing impairment may stem the worldwide rise of dementia."

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