Wednesday, October 12, 2016
New Study Suggests Hearing Aids May Help Lessen Cognitive Decline
According to Audiology Today, since communication difficulties are one of the earliest signs of dementia, audiologists are poised to make timely and appropriate referrals when necessary, which can improve long-term outcomes by allowing earlier diagnosis and management of cognitive decline.
Cognitive decline and hearing loss is a current hot topic in audiology. While recent findings offer compelling incentives for adult patients to make the jump to accept hearing aids, we must be careful to present the information accurately to patients and avoid unintentionally using misinformation as a scare tactic. Let’s look at what we know.
Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic health condition facing older adults, and we know that very few people have no cognitive decline with age. This presents a large overlap of older adults with both hearing loss and cognitive decline; a population which will only grow with the aging of today’s adults. In 2010, 4.7 million people in the U.S. older than age 65 had the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease. In 2016, that number grew to 5.4 million; and in 2050, 13.8 million Americans are expected to have Alzheimer’s.