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Do Hearing Aids Slow Mental Decline and Dementia? A New Study Says They Do

Aging and Cognitive Health Evaluation in Elders (ACHIEVE) is a landmark study of the effect of hearing intervention on brain health in older adults. Findings, recently published in Lancet, showed that hearing loss is associated with cognitive decline and one goal was to determine whether hearing intervention could reduce cognitive decline. ACHIEVE’s key findings showed hearing intervention was not better than health education on slowing cognitive declines. However, participants who were part of the heart healthy study  reduced cognitive change by 48% over 3 years. “Investigators believe that the effect of the hearing intervention on reducing cognitive decline was only apparent in the heart health study participants because this group had a faster rate (3-fold faster) of cognitive decline over the study period than the healthy volunteer group.” Investigators believe hearing intervention would help others, but it will take longer to measure the effect in the healthier study participants. Lizzy Lawrence recently wrote [h]earing loss has emerged as one of the likely risk factors for dementia for several reasons. As the brain struggles to hear, scientists suspect, it might have less capacity for cognitive work like thinking or remembering.”


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