Even though hearing loss is a common condition, affecting more than 48 million Americans, only about 20% of those with hearing loss seek treatment.
In addition to helping you hear better, hearing aids can improve your physical, mental and emotional health, as well as prevent falls. This is especially helpful if you like spending time outside at the Tumamoc hiking trail, as there are many tripping hazards. A study from the University of Michigan further supports this claim.
The Purpose of the Research
Dr. Elham Mahmoudi is the lead author of the study entitled “Can Hearing Aids Delay Time to Diagnosis of Dementia, Depression, or Falls in Older Adults?” Even though many studies have shown the connection between untreated hearing loss and other health and safety problems, she wanted to go even further and conduct a study that looked at the association between hearing aids and health benefits.
Even though hearing aids may not be able to prevent certain conditions from occurring, delaying their onset can be significant.
Data from a total of 114,862 adults with diagnosed hearing loss ages 66 and above was reviewed between 2008 and 2016. The researchers examined the participants’ health information from one year before their hearing loss diagnosis to three years afterward. They were specifically looking for any new diagnosis of dementia, depression, anxiety or an injury from a fall.
Study results showed that by wearing a hearing aid, the risk of being diagnosed with dementia was reduced by 18%, the risk of diagnosed depression and anxiety was reduced by 11% and the risk of fall-related injuries was reduced by 13%.
The researchers also made note of which participants wore their hearing aids and which ones did not. They found that only 12% of those with diagnosed hearing loss wore their hearing aids regularly. In addition:
- 3% of women with hearing loss 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.
This study is just another example of research showing the benefits of using hearing aids to treat hearing loss. Dr. Mahmoudi hopes these results can help sway individuals with hearing loss to seek treatment.
To learn more about the benefits of treating your hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with a hearing professional, contact Arizona Hearing Specialists today.