Asri Maharani, Ph.D., from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues used data from the Health and Retirement Study to determine whether hearing aid use alters cognitive trajectories in older adults. The 2,040 adults (aged ≥50 years) included in the analysis participated in a minimum of three waves of the study.

The researchers found that hearing aid use was positively associated with 
episodic memory scores (P < 0.001). Compared to before use of hearing aids (P < 0.001), declines in episodic memory scores were slower after use began (P < 0.001). These results were maintained even after adjustment for multiple confounders.

"Hearing aids may have a mitigating effect on trajectories of  in later life," the authors write. "Providing  or other rehabilitative services for hearing impairment much earlier in the course of hearing impairment may stem the worldwide rise of dementia."

[reprinted from The Medical Press]