Want To Keep Your Brain Sharp? Take Care Of Your Eyes And Ears
By: Allison Aubrey
When you get hearing aids, it can help you stay more stimulated and socially engaged.
By age 40, about 1 in 10 adults will experience some hearing loss. It happens so slowly and gradually, says audiologist Dina Rollins. “You don’t realize what you’re missing.” And even as it worsens, many people are in denial.
By the time someone is convinced they have a hearing problem, age-related memory loss may have already set in. But there’s good news. Restoring hearing with hearing aids can help slow down cognitive decline.
Consider these findings: Researchers tracked about 2,000 older adults in the U.S. both before and after they started using hearing aids. The adults were participants in a big, national study called the Health and Retirement Study.
“We found the rate of cognitive decline was slowed by 75 percent following the adoption of hearing aids,” says Asri Maharani, a researcher at the University of Manchester in the division of neuroscience and experimental psychology and an author of the paper. “It is a surprising result,” Maharani says. The study was publishedthis spring in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
To assess cognition over time, researchers performed a battery of face-to-face tests with participants. This was done every two years from 1996 to 2014. One test to assess memory required participants to recall a list of 10 words, both immediately after the words were read aloud and then again after the participants had been distracted by other tasks. “We weren’t expecting that hearing aid use would eliminate cognitive decline. That’s just not going to happen” because age-related decline is inevitable, explains Piers Dawes, an experimental psychologist and another author of the study. “But the reduction in the rate of change is quite substantial. It’s a very intriguing finding.”…
Source: National Public Radio