People with hearing loss who are not using a hearing aid may have a higher risk of dementia than people without hearing loss, research suggests. But according to the new study, using a hearing aid could reduce this risk to the same level as people without hearing loss.
The findings were published in The Lancet public health journal. It comes after the Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention, and care, published in 2020, suggested hearing loss may be linked to about 8% of worldwide dementia cases.
“The evidence is building that hearing loss may be the most impactful modifiable risk factor for dementia in mid-life, but the effectiveness of hearing aid use on reducing the risk of dementia in the real world has remained unclear,” said Prof Dongshan Zhu, of Shandong University, China.
The researchers found that compared with people with normal hearing, those with hearing loss not using hearing aids had a 42% higher risk of all-cause dementia. There was no increased risk in people who used hearing aids.