Yes Hearing Aids, No Dementia, Depression, and Falls
We have heard the concerning connections between untreated hearing loss and a host of other health conditions. There is always debate around these conversations about whether the link between hearing loss and say accelerated dementia is causal or otherwise.
One of the tried and true methods to ask this question more deliberately is to reintroduce function, hearing in this case, and observe the effects on the secondary conditions.
A large retrospective cohort study from almost 115,000 individuals, just published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, suggests strong positive outcomes when individuals use hearing aids.
By examining longitudinal claims data from a large private payer in the state of Michigan, Mahmoudi et al show that hearing aid use in the first three years of hearing loss diagnosis is linked to later diagnosis of dementia, depression, and injurious falls.
While these data do not themselves establish a causal relationship between hearing loss and these conditions, they certainly highlight the urgency to use hearing aids as soon as possible after the diagnosis of a hearing loss.
Mahmoudi E, Basu T, Langa K, McKee MM, Zazove P, Alexander N, Kamdar N. (2019) Can Hearing Aids Delay Time to Diagnosis of Dementia, Depression, or Falls in Older Adults? J Amer Ger Soc.