FRIDAY, April 14, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- For people with hearing loss, use of hearing aids is associated with a reduction in the risk for dementia to a similar level to that of people without hearing loss, according to a study published online April 13 in The Lancet Public Health.
Fan Jiang, Ph.D., from Shandong University in Jinan, China, and colleagues used data from the U.K. Biobank to examine the association between hearing aid use and risk for all-cause and cause-specific dementia among middle-aged and older adults. The roles of mediators and moderators were analyzed.
The analyses included 437,704 people. The researchers found that people with hearing loss without hearing aids had an increased risk for all-cause dementia compared with those without hearing loss (hazard ratio, 1.42; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.29 to 1.56), while those with hearing loss with hearing aids had no increased risk (hazard ratio, 1.04; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.98 to 1.10). The positive association of hearing aid use was seen for all-cause dementia and specific dementia subtypes. The estimated attributable risk proportion of dementia for hearing loss was 29.6 percent. Overall, 1.5, 2.3, and 7.1 percent of the total association between hearing aid use and all-cause dementia was mediated by reducing social isolation, reducing loneliness, and reducing depressed mood, respectively.
"Public health strategies are necessary to raise awareness of hearing loss and the potential harm of untreated hearing impairment, [and] increase accessibility to hearing aids by reducing cost, encouraging screening, and delivering potential interventions such as fitting hearing aids," the authors write.
One author disclosed financial ties to Kyowa Kirin.