New Research Shows Hearing Aids Improve Brain Function and Memory in Older Adults

By University of Maryland Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences

“One of the most prevalent health conditions among older adults, age-related hearing loss, can lead to cognitive decline, social isolation and depression. However, new research from the University of Maryland (UMD) Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences (HESP) shows that the use of hearing aids not only restores the capacity to hear, but can improve brain function and working memory.”

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Tinnitus: Ringing in the ears and what to do about it

Updated: October 23, 2018 Published: September, 2011

“In addition to treating associated problems (such as depression or insomnia), there are several strategies that can help make tinnitus less bothersome. No single approach works for everyone, and you may need to try various combinations of techniques before you find what works for you. If you have age-related hearing loss, a hearing aid can often make tinnitus less noticeable by amplifying outside sounds.”

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The Link between Diabetes and Hearing Loss

Daniel McDermott, Dawn Konrad-Martin, Donald F. Austin, Susan Griest, Garnett P. McMillan and Stephen A. Fausti

“Accumulating evidence points to a link between diabetes and hearing loss. In a recent study, Bainbridge et al. (2008) examined hearing data from 5,140 individuals who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1999 and 2004. Prevalence of hearing loss was 15% for participants without diabetes, but more than double for those with diabetes.”

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Good hearing essential to physical and emotional well-being

Charlotte S. Y eh, M.D., Chief Medical Office, AARP Services Inc.; October 20, 2016

“Changing the public conversation on hearing to show how people who experience hearing loss can move from fear and denial to aging gracefully, with resilience, joy, and health…hea ring loss is not a stand-alone disability. It is linked to everything we do every single day.”

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Quantifying the obvious:
The impact of hearing instruments on quality of life

Sergei Kochkin, PH.D.; Carole M. Rogin, M.A .; printed in The Hearing Review; January 2000

“A survey of 2,069 hearing-impaired individuals and 1,710 of their family members reveals that hearing instrument users are likely to report improvements in their physical, emotional, mental and social well-being. Users of hearing instruments on average are more socially active and avoid extended periods of depression, worry, paranoia and insecurity compared to non-users with hearing loss. Additionally, family members and friends are more likely to notice these benefits than the actual users themselves.”

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Hearing loss and dementia linked in study

Johns Hopkins Medicine; February 14, 2011

“Seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing.”
“Researchers found that study participants with hearing loss at the beginning of the study were significantly more likely to develop dementia at the end…The more hearing loss they had, the higher their likelihood of developing the memory-robbing disease”

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Hearing loss tied to depression in study

Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay Reporter; March 6, 2014

“Hearing loss is associated with depression among…adults, especially women and those younger than age 70, according to new research…In the new study, as hearing declined, the percentage of depressed adults increased – from about 5 percent in those who had no hearing problems to more than 11 percent in those who did.”

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Hearing loss linked to accelerated brain tissue loss

Johns Hopkins Medicine; January 22, 2014

“Although the brain becomes smaller with age, the shrinkage seems to be fast-tracked in older adults with hearing loss…The findings add to a growing list of health consequences associated with hearing loss, including increased risk of dementia, falls, hospitalizations, and diminished physical and mental health overall.”

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Link between hearing loss and certain chronic diseases

The Association of Hearing Instrument Practitioners of Ontario

“With so much evidence emerging on the potential link between hearing loss and various chronic illnesses, it becomes all the more pressing for people to identify and address hearing loss early on.” Get your hearing checked. And be assured that in most cases, today’s state-of-the-art hearing aids, programmed to the specific hearing requirements of the individual, can help people hear better and thereby regain quality of life.”

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Link between hearing loss and hospitalization

The Journal of the American Medical Association, June 12, 2013

“This is…the first nationally representative study to demonstrate that hearing loss is independently associated with increased health care use and burden of disease among older adults.”

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Hearing loss linked to risk of falling

Johns Hopkins Medicine, February 27, 2012

“Another reason hearing loss might increase the risk of falls, Lin adds, is cognitive load, in which the brain is overwhelmed with demands on its limited resources. ‘Gait and balance are things most people take for granted, but they are actually very cognitively demanding,’ Lin says. ‘If hearing loss imposes a cognitive load, there may be fewer cognitive resources to help with maintaining balance and gait.’

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