Fort Myers audiologist says hearing aids help decrease dementia

Reporter: Amy Oshier
Published: Updated:

It’s well established that hearing loss is a risk factor for dementia, but doctors didn’t know if using an aid would mitigate that. Newly released research finds you may be able to hang on to your cognition by wearing hearing aids.

Fort Myers Audiologist Jack Adams has kept an eye on cutting edge hearing studies. “At the University of Colorado and Johns Hopkins, where they’re finding that cognitively, people that keep their auditory system stimulated with amplification, have better memory have better ability to process information and have less risk of dementia,” he said.

“People that have hearing loss tend to be less engaged.”

Adams helps keep patients connected with the world around them; he said people with hearing loss tend to be less engaged. Shrinking from social situations is thought to be a factor in cognitive decline, and it is. But researchers believe more is going on that increases the risk of dementia.

They believe some parts of the brain shrink faster than others. If the area that processes speech is impacted, it may farm that duty to another part of the brain. Making it work harder to understand. Fixing a hearing problem, takes the stress off.

This new research finds cognitive decline decreased by a rate of 48% in older, high risk patients in the study. It reinforces Adams’ belief that correcting hearing loss improves overall health.
“As soon as people start wearing hearing aids, you can see that activity come back to the temporal lobe, again, to be processed, where it’s supposed to be processed”, said Adams.

This study didn’t find much benefit in younger patients using hearing aids, because they were generally more healthy and weren’t facing a risk for dementia at that point in time.

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