Summary: In people with hearing loss, the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants was associated with a 19% long-term reduction in cognitive decline and a 3% improvement in cognitive test scores.
Source: Alzheimer’s research in the UK
Researchers have published findings that suggest the use of hearing aids and cochlear implants may reduce the risk of developing dementia by slowing cognitive decline, such as memory loss.
The use of hearing aids and cochlear implants by people with hearing loss has been found to reduce long-term cognitive decline by 19%. Additionally, the use of these devices resulted in a 3% improvement in cognitive test scores, including an individual’s ability to solve problems.
The results were published in JAMA Neurologyusing a meta-analysis (a statistical analysis that combines the results of several scientific studies).
Dr Susan Mitchell, policy manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “There is increasingly clear evidence that people who lose their hearing as they age are at increased risk of developing dementia. This study provides further compelling evidence of this link, but questions remain unanswered.
“Research on dementia has made great strides in recent months, but much more needs to be done and interventions that can reduce the risk of dementia must be a public health priority.
“People need to be able to access hearing tests if they are concerned about their hearing, so appropriate support, such as hearing aids, can be offered at an early stage and help maintain their brain health.
“In the future, researchers need to determine exactly how hearing loss influences the risk of developing dementia. We also need to know who is most at risk and who could benefit the most from interventions like hearing aids.
“Knowing this will help health services allocate resources and support those in need.”
About this dementia research news
Author: Press office
Source: Alzheimer’s research in the UK
Contact: Press office – Alzheimer’s Research UK
Image: Image is in public domain
Original research: Access closed.
“Association of hearing aids and cochlear implants with cognitive decline and dementia” by Brian Sheng Yep Yeo et al. JAMA Neurology
Association of hearing aids and cochlear implants with cognitive decline and dementia
Hearing loss is associated with cognitive decline. However, it is unclear whether hearing restoration devices can have a beneficial effect on cognition.
To assess the associations of hearing aids and cochlear implants with cognitive decline and dementia.
PubMed, Embase and Cochrane databases for studies published from inception to July 23, 2021.
Selection of studies
Randomized clinical trials or observational studies published as full articles in peer-reviewed journals regarding the effect of hearing interventions on cognitive function, cognitive decline, cognitive impairment, and dementia in patients with hearing loss.
Data extraction and synthesis
The review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) reporting guidelines. Two authors independently searched the PubMed, Embase and Cochrane databases for studies relating to the effect of auditory interventions on cognitive decline and dementia in patients with hearing loss.
Main results and measures
Maximum adjusted hazard ratios (RR) were used for dichotomous outcomes and the ratio of means for continuous outcomes. Sources of heterogeneity were investigated using sensitivity and subgroup analyses, and publication bias was assessed using visual inspection, Egger’s test, and the adjustment and filling.
A total of 3243 studies were reviewed; 31 studies (25 observational studies, 6 trials) with 137,484 participants were included, of which 19 (15 observational studies, 4 trials) were included in the quantitative analyses. Meta-analysis of 8 studies, which included 126,903 participants, had a follow-up duration ranging from 2 to 25 years and investigated long-term associations between hearing aid use and cognitive decline, showed significantly lowest of any cognitive decline in hearing people. hearing aid users versus participants with uncorrected hearing loss (HR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.76-0.87; I2= 0%). Additionally, a meta-analysis of 11 studies with 568 participants investigating the association between hearing restoration and changes in short-term cognitive test scores found a 3% improvement in short-term cognitive test scores after using hearing aids (ratio of means, 1.03; 95% CI, 1.02-1.04, I2= 0%).
Conclusions and relevance
In this meta-analysis, the use of hearing restoration devices by hearing-impaired participants was associated with a 19% lower risk of long-term cognitive decline. Additionally, use of these devices was significantly associated with a 3% improvement in cognitive test scores that assessed short-term general cognition. A cognitive benefit of hearing restoration devices should be further investigated in randomized trials.
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