Why does hearing aid use slow cognitive decline? Elizabeth Tracey reports


What is it about hearing aid use that helps slow cognitive decline in those at risk, as shown in a recent study led by Frank Lin, an otolaryngologist at Johns Hopkins? Lin says hearing aids may boost sound so the brain doesn’t have to work so hard.

Lin: That's one idea that providing a clear audio signal reduce the load in the brain. The other idea is that providing increased auditory stimulation of the brain were helping the brain maintain its overall structural integrity, and the flip side we see that people with hearing loss have faster rates of brain atrophy and we think that's because of that concept auditory deprivation. The third mechanism by getting your hearing essentially addressed and you're better able to socially engage or remain engaged and that's hugely important for maintaining your cognitive health.  :27

Lin says while it’s unclear exactly what the mechanism is by which hearing aids provide a benefit, it is clear that they do. He notes that hearing assessments are important to spot emerging problems before they start impacting cognition and social skills. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.