Hearing aids may improve brain function, says research

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Hearing loss can have adverse effects on older people making the quality of life poor.

A new research has identified that wearing hearing aids can help to delay cognitive decline and also improve brain function.

Generally, cognitive decline is associated with hearing loss that affects more than 70 per cent of people aged over 70 years.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne tested the use of hearing aids in almost 100 adults aged 62 to 82 years with hearing loss.

The participant’s data was collected after an assessment before and 18 months after having hearing aids.

After 18 months of hearing aid use, researchers found speech perception, self-reported listening disability and quality of life had significantly improved for participants.

A major portion showed clinical improvement or stability in executive function — their mental ability to plan, organise information and initiate tasks.

When taken an account of women, a significant improvement in working memory – used for reasoning and decision-making were shown.

University of Melbourne Associate Professor and Chief Investigator of the study, Julia Sarant, said the improvement in cognitive function is something that is not usually seen in older adults.

“Although there are successful treatments for hearing loss, there is currently no successful treatment for cognitive decline or dementia,” Sarant said.

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