Hearing Aids Use Lowers Premature Death Risk By 25%, Study Shows

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New research from the University of Southern California suggests that wearing hearing aids may lead to a nearly 25% reduction in the risk of premature death. Despite the widespread impact of hearing loss globally, only a small fraction of those in need currently use hearing aids.

Using hearing aids may lower mortality risk

According to Dr. Janet Choi, the lead researcher from Keck Medicine of USC, Adults with hearing loss who consistently use hearing aids face a 24% lower risk of mortality compared to those who do not use them. Choi adds that the discovery indicates a potential protective effect of hearing aids on overall health, potentially preventing premature death.

Past research has shown that untreated hearing loss has been associated with negative outcomes such as a shorter lifespan, dementia, social isolation, and depression. However, there has been limited research on the impact of hearing aid use on mortality risk. Dr. Choi claims that their study is the most comprehensive analysis so far to establish this relationship.

A study of nearly 10,000 adults aged 20 and above, involving hearing tests and questionnaires about hearing aid usage, was conducted over a 10-year period. Out of 1,863 participants with hearing loss, 237 were regular hearing aid users, while 1,483 never used them. The research found that regular users experienced consistent mortality risk reduction, regardless of factors such as the degree of hearing loss, ethnicity, age, education, income, and medical history.

Enhanced hearing improves mental health and cognition

The study reveals that there is no difference in mortality risk between occasional and non-users of hearing aids, implying that infrequent use may not contribute to increased longevity. According to Dr. Choi the potential link between hearing aids and longer life could be attributed to a reduction in depression and dementia risk, as improved hearing may positively impact mental health and cognition.

Dr. Choi aims to inspire increased hearing aid adoption through the study. She recognizes challenges such as cost, stigma, and device selection but is developing an AI-driven database to personalize hearing aid recommendations based on individual needs.

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