Jiang et al (2023) used data from the United Kingdom (UK) Biobank to examine the relationship between hearing aid use and dementia. Study participants were between 40 and 69 years of age. Jiang and colleagues limited their analyses to participants who did not have a diagnosis of dementia at baseline. Their total sample included over 430,000 individuals.
Participants were queried regarding their hearing difficulties and hearing aid use. Specifically, they were asked “Do you have any difficulty with your hearing?” and “Do you use a hearing aid most of the time?” For the hearing-difficulty question, participants could respond with one of three options: “yes,” “no,” or “I am completely deaf.” Study participants who responded “I am completely deaf” were not asked about their hearing aid use but were labeled as non-users for the purposes of analyses. Three groups were considered: (1) no hearing difficulties; (2) hearing difficulties with hearing aid use; and (3) hearing difficulties without hearing aid use.
Hospital inpatient records were reviewed for International Classification of Diseases 10threvision (1CD-10) codes consistent with a diagnosis of dementia. They found that study participants who reported hearing difficulties and did not use a hearing aid at baseline had a higher risk of later being diagnosed with all-cause dementia than those without hearing loss. Participants with hearing difficulties who used a hearing aid did not.
Interested readers are encouraged to review the full article for additional information including models adjusted for covariates, analyses examining the associations between hearing status with dementia subtypes, and mediator and moderator analyses. The full article may be found in the references below.
Jiang F, Mishra S, Shrestha N, et al. (2023) Association between hearing aid use and all-cause and cause-specific dementia: an analysis of the UK Biobank data. Lancet Publ Health, 8(5):E329-e338.
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