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Hearing Aids: Shielding Against Cognitive Decline

An eagerly awaited clinical trial has delivered promising new results for older adults concerned about their cognitive decline.

The groundbreaking study, involving nearly 980 participants offers evidence that hearing aids may slow the rate of cognitive decline by nearly 50% in older adults.

As the study shows, these findings can have major implications for adults suffering from health complications associated with older age.

Woman hiking with hearing aids

The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline:

Untreated hearing loss is estimated to contribute to approximately 8 percent of dementia cases worldwide.

Prior to the clinical trial, studies spanning several years had already hinted at the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline.  Individuals with hearing loss who wore hearing aids were found to have a reduced risk of cognitive function when compared to those who did not use them.

Additional research demonstrated that individuals who struggled to hear in noisy environments faced a higher risk of developing dementia, often marked by confusion and memory loss.

Participants and Study Design:

The study enrolled a diverse group of participants through two recruitment methods:

  • 739 healthy volunteers age 70–84 who responded to the ad
  • 238 older adults with a higher risk of cognitive decline, drawn from an ongoing health study.

Participants were randomly assigned to two groups where one received hearing aids, while the other underwent an evidence-based education program on healthy aging.

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Promising Results and Key Findings:

According to the findings, hearing aids were responsible for a reduction in cognitive decline, but the impact was most pronounced in participants who already had an elevated risk of dementia.

For these at-risk groups, hearing aids nearly halved the rate of cognitive change over a span of three years compared to those who received the health education program without hearing aids.

Treating age-related hearing loss can be a potent tool for safeguarding cognitive function later in life and could potentially delay a dementia diagnosis.

Future Research and Implications:

Future research could explore how using hearing aids impacts a person's mood, independence, social connectedness, or engagement in physical activity, as these factors may be related to slow cognitive decline.


The eagerly anticipated clinical trial provides a ray of hope for older adults concerned about cognitive decline. It suggests that hearing aids can be a powerful tool for preserving cognitive function and potentially delaying dementia in certain high-risk groups.

As research in this area continues to evolve, there is growing optimism that hearing aids may play a vital role in promoting cognitive health and enhancing the quality of life for older individuals.

Dr. Cindy MacManus explainingZepp Clarity's commitment to Veteran hearing

Dr. Alexi Silance

Dr. Alexi Silance is an audiologist and integrative and functional medicine practitioner who has worked in the hearing health space for over 20 years. Her experience spans both clinical settings as well as corporate environments. She is passionate about bringing a holistic approach to treating hearing health and wellness.

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