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Hearing Loss Linked to Increased Risk for Dementia

Authors say findings support public health action to improve hearing aid access

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Jan. 12, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Moderate-to-severe hearing loss is associated with a higher prevalence of dementia among U.S. older adults, according to research published in the Jan. 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Alison R. Huang, Ph.D., from the Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues estimated the cross-sectional association of audiometric hearing loss and hearing aid use with dementia among community-dwelling older adults. The analysis included 2,413 Medicare beneficiaries.

The researchers found that the weighted prevalence of dementia was 10.27 percent and increased with increasing severity of hearing loss (normal hearing: 6.19 percent; mild loss: 8.93 percent; moderate-to-severe loss: 16.52 percent). Weighted hearing loss prevalence was 36.74 percent for mild and 29.79 percent for moderate-to-severe hearing loss. Participants with moderate-to-severe hearing loss were more likely to be older, male, and White and to have lower education levels versus individuals with mild hearing loss or normal hearing.

“Hearing aid use was associated with lower dementia prevalence, supporting public health action to improve hearing care access, including increased availability of affordable hearing aids,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the biotechnology industry and Apple.

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