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Friday, September 6, 2019

Use of Hearing Aids May Delay Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and More

​The use of hearing aids is associated with delayed diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, dementia, depression, anxiety, and falls among older adults with hearing loss, according to a new study (J Am Geriatr Soc. 2019 Sep 4. doi: 10.1111/jgs.16109. [Epub ahead of print]). Analyzing national longitudinal claims data of 114,862 adults 66 and older from 2008 to 2016, the study authors found that the risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, anxiety or depression, and injurious falls within three years after being diagnosed with hearing loss was 18 percent, 11 percent, and 13 percent lower, respectively, for those who used hearing aids versus those who did not. "Although we have shown an association between use of hearing aids and reduced risk of physical and mental decline, randomized trials are needed to determine whether, and to what extent, the relationship is causal," the authors wrote. They also found large sex and racial or ethnic differences in hearing aid use: Approximately 11.3 percent of women used hearing aids, compared with 13.3 percent of men, and close to 14 percent of whites vs 9.8 percent of blacks and 6.5 percent of Hispanics used hearing aids.