Do healthy people with hearing loss benefit from hearing aids? Elizabeth Tracey reports


For people who have hearing loss and other risk factors for cognitive decline, hearing aid use slowed down that cognitive decline dramatically, a study by Frank Lin, an otolaryngologist at Johns Hopkins and colleagues shows. Yet for those without risk factors, such a benefit wasn’t seen. Lin explains.

Lin: 48% reduction and lost thinking abilities over a three-year time period, whereas the healthy volunteer cohort we saw technically the hearing had no benefit.  But the reason for that is a healthy volunteer cohort didn't really have any cognitive change over three years, they're too healthy. In other words if their cognition’s not declined you can't reduce something that is already not really going down at all.We looked at improved communication, social isolation, loneliness that improved for everybody.   :29

Lin notes that the social factors are very important for maintaining quality of life, so even in the absence of a cognitive benefit using hearing aids when a person experiences hearing loss is likely to be helpful. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.