Hearing Aids Might Slow Cognitive Decline
The latest research from the University of Bordeaux in France claims that elderly people wearing hearing aids suffer cognitive decline at a similar pace to their peer group with normal hearing, as opposed to trial subjects who were not wearing hearing aids and exhibited faster rate of decline.
The study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society comprised 3,700 seniors age 65 and more was followed up for 25 years. It is one of the biggest studies on hearing loss and cognitive decline up-to-date.
The subjects were split into 3 groups: suffering from major hearing loss (137 people), experiencing moderate hearing loss (1,139) and without hearing problems (2,394).
Taking into consideration age, gender and education, the scientists acknowledged greater cognitive decline among participants who experienced some sort of hearing problems. However, among seniors with poorer hearing those with hearing aids scored better in cognitive tests than subjects who were not wearing them.
Lack of Hearing Aids Causes Social Isolation
However, excluding such factors as depression, social isolation and use of antidepressants, the researchers concluded that some level of cognitive decline could be detected among all groups. That led to a conclusion that hearing loss causes social isolation and depression rather than cognitive decline on its own.
“People with hearing problems who were not wearing hearing aids miss out bits and pieces of conversations which isolates them”, explains Reuters one of the researchers. The inference is that once people are isolated, they do not participate fully in conversation, from which they are being eventually left out. That is typical chicken and egg scenario.
Hearing Aids Manuals Prevent Social Exclusion
Social exclusion is one of the biggest problems elderly people with hearing problems face. Often it is associated with depressive symptoms. Yet many older people abandon wearing hearing aids in the first months of using them. Some of the factors might be purely psychological. Although there are great figures such as Prince Philip posing wearing hearing aids, wearers can feel embarrassed, as hearing devices are associated with old age. Another reasons might be the lack of patience in learning how to use hearing aids properly. Like many previous research studies, the French researches recommend rehabilitation programmes including communication skills and instructions on how to use hearing aids.
Educative and Fitting Hearing Aids Software
Among the latest and highest profile rehabilitation systems – C2Hear – was developed by the researchers and clinicians at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) and experts in the Health E-learning and Media (HELM) at The University of Nottingham. C2Hear has been designed as a help not only for hearing aids users but also for their families.
Another one worth noting is LACE (Listening and Communication Enhancement) – the world’s leading communication therapy for teaching people how to listen and improve their hearing – with or without a hearing aid. By learning to listen better, LACE users improve their lives by developing their communication and listening skills. With over 60,000 courses completed, LACE has been shown to improve listening by up to 40%, improving participants’ ability to comprehend speech and communicate better.
However, it is not only researchers from the big health centres who are thinking how to improve people’s listening and hearing skills. It is also an important consideration for manufactures and distributors of hearing aids, who develop their own software. One such example is Kamplex, the house name of products from PC Werth. Kamplex, which last year reintroduced hearing aids, boasts fitting software which has been developed especially for NHS practitioners with elderly patients in mind. K-Fit software features a logical fitting flow which only require minimal training. Fine-tuning and adjustment is easy thereafter with a series of toggles and on screen displays. Ask for your own copy of fitting software.
30% people aged 65 suffer from some sort of hearing loss. The figures oscillates between 70 and 90% among 85 and older seniors.
PC Werth distributes C2Hear and LACE in the UK & Kamplex
Tags: hearing aids