2020 Lancet report finds hearing aids can protect against cognitive decline

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"by " Albert Stein

Previous studies have shown the link between hearing loss and dementia, but new research shows that wearing hearing aids can protect you from cognitive decline.

The Lancet published a new study on July 30, 2020 which shows that hearing loss is the largest modifiable risk factor against dementia. 

Dementia risk varies based on level of hearing loss

  • Mild hearing loss doubles the dementia risk

  • Moderate hearing loss triples the risk

  • Severe hearing impairment increases dementia risk of up to 5 times that of those who do not have hearing impairment

The recent Lancet study presents that “hearing loss might result in cognitive decline through reduced cognitive stimulation”, and the Lancet therefore “[encourages the] use of hearing aids for hearing loss”. 

By being proactive and treating hearing loss as soon as possible, the risk for cognitive decline can be reduced.1,2,3,4

12 lifestyle factors for preventing dementia

In addition to hearing loss, there are 11 other lifestyle factors which can be adjusted in order to delay or prevent 40% of dementia cases.
The 12 lifestyle factors are1:


Hearing loss is the largest modifiable risk factor

In the case of hearing loss, if all hearing loss was optimally treated, nearly one in 10 cases of dementia could be eliminated.
Another study notes that “hearing impairment is associated with a 30-40% rate of cognitive decline.3” By treating hearing loss with hearing aids, your brain stays mentally stimulated, meaning that you protect your brain from the risk of cognitive decline. Hearing aids are a gateway to communication and can help facilitate a healthy and active lifestyle through all stages of life – and especially in mid to later stages of life where the risk for cognitive decline increases.1

Dementia and hearing loss are global issues

Globally, there are around 466 million people with hearing loss and about 50 million people with dementia. Treating hearing loss worldwide could be one way to lower the risk of cognitive decline for people worldwide.56

How can you treat your hearing loss?

Hearing loss is most commonly treated with hearing aids. Today, modern hearing aids provide a wide range of user benefits so that you can hear the sounds around you in the most natural way possible.
Digital hearing aids provide you with a 360-degree listening environment, and they allow you to focus on the most important sounds around you while balancing the whole soundscape so that you can filter out unnecessary background noise. 

Taking action today could improve your long-term health

The groundbreaking research provided by the Lancet study shows that you can lower your risk for cognitive decline by making some lifestyle changes. If you think that you might have hearing loss, it’s a good idea to get your hearing checked so that you can treat any level of hearing loss.

It can be difficult to make lifestyle changes but remember that long-term health benefits are beneficial for both you and the people around you. The long-term benefits will far outweigh the short-term adjustment period.

1. G Livingston, Jonathan Huntley, Andrew Sommerlad, et al. Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commission. The Lancet. July 30, 2020.
2. G Livingston, A Sommerlad, V Orgeta, et al. Dementia prevention, intervention, and care.
The Lancet. July 20, 2017.