Hearing aids reduce dementia risk

Using hearing aids may significantly reduce the risk of dementia among people with hearing loss, research published in Lancet Public Health suggests.

A study involving more than 400,000 participants, drawing on the UK Biobank cohort, found that people with hearing loss who do not use hearing aids may be at higher risk of dementia than those who do use them.

Researchers discovered that using a hearing aid resulted in a 1.2% dementia risk, compared with a 1.7% risk where no hearing aid was used.

“Although researchers are still working hard to understand exactly how hearing loss influences dementia risk, it’s clear that hearing is important for protecting brain health,” said Alzheimer Research UK’s Dr Susan Mitchell.  “This study provides further compelling evidence that simple interventions like hearing aids can help people who are losing their hearing to protect their brain health.

“We’re calling on the government to include a hearing check in the existing NHS Health Check, which is freely available to over 40s. This will help millions of people in the UK know whether their hearing is affected earlier and take action to potentially help reduce their risk of dementia.”