Uncorrected Hearing Loss Can Increase the Risk of Dementia and Depression
Elderly people who suffer hearing loss without having it corrected are more likely to develop dementia, depression, and addiction.
The lack of having one's hearing corrected increases the risk of dependence in the elderly, as well as dementia or depression, according to a French study published in the Journals of Gerontology.
Led by a laboratory of the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in Bordeaux, this study confirms the strong link between one's hearing condition and the risk of disability, dementia, and depression.
Cognitive decline speeds up when hearing is no longer stimulated
For 25 years the researchers followed 3,577 people in France who are 65 years old or older. The research was carried out between 1989-2015.
Tests of cognitive abilities show an "accelerated decline" in elderly people who need a hearing aid but do not use it. Thus, in people reporting an uncorrected hearing problem, the risk of developing dementia increased by 21% and that of becoming dependent in everyday life by 28%.
When the risk of depression increased, it was only significant for men (+ 43%). Here, I fully agree with this study, as my father was in the same situation. His isolation from society accelerated when he lost his hearing at a young age. I am sure he was going through depression, but I was a child and didn't understand it. At times he used a hearing aid, but most of the time, it wouldn't help his hearing.
Back To The Hearing Aid Research
The lack of a hearing aid for those who need it "increases the long-term risk of developing dementia or addiction and, in men, depression," neuropsychologist Hélène Amieva from the University of Bordeaux, who coordinated the research, told AFP. There was no link between observed patient mortality and that in people wearing hearing aids. The risk was lower for those who say they do not have a hearing problem.
"So it is helpful to track and treat hearing loss, although it may be considered normal with age to have hearing problems," added Amieva.
The cost of hearing aids in the United States can range from $200 to $6,000. At least, that's what my quick search displayed in Google results.
Based on this study, it would be good for states and countries to invest in making hearing aids more accessible and affordable for the elderly population. Everyone would benefit from it.
Do you use hearing aids? If yes, did your insurance pay for it or did you have to pay for it? How much did it cost you? Please, let us know your thoughts in the comments section below for discussion.