Hearing aids may help maintain better brain function

We all know that regular hearing tests for the elderly are just as important as regular check-ups at the doctors or dentists.  

Hearing aids

According to Age UK, more than 71% of over 70-year-olds and more than 41% of over 50-year-olds suffer from some form of hearing loss.  

Hearing loss can have an impact on communication and relationships with family, friends and the general public. Not being able to hear other people can lead to an elderly person becoming depressed and facing social isolation, so it’s important that a hearing aid is worn if needed. Now a new study has concluded that people who do wear hearing aids may maintain a better brain function over time. 

The University of Exeter and King’s College London undertook an online study of 25,000 people aged 50 or over. It showed that people using hearing aids had faster reaction times than those who didn’t, which might indicate better concentration. 

The findings provide early evidence that encouraging people to wear a hearing aid may help to protect their brains and reduce their risk of dementia. 

Aoife Kiely, Research Officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said on its website: “The link between hearing loss and the risk of developing dementia has been an area of interest over recent years, and this research is further evidence that using a hearing aid for hearing difficulties in mid-life could help a person maintain their brain function as they get older and might also reduce their risk of dementia. 

“In this study, people using hearing aids had faster reaction times than those who didn’t, which might indicate better concentration. Being able to stay tuned into conversations and day-to-day life is key in reducing the feelings of isolation that we know many people with dementia experience, which is why we’re currently funding a project to improve hearing problems in care homes to help make sure anyone with a hearing problem can receive the support they need.” 

The findings of the study are hugely positive for anyone with hearing problems who might be wary about wearing a hearing aid.  

Hearing problems are a hidden condition so can be difficult to spot if you’re caring for a loved-one. If the person you’re caring for has to regularly turn the TV or radio up or has problems hearing what people are saying and often asks people to repeat themselves, then they should book a hearing test straight away. 

You can find out more about the importance of hearing tests here