Numerous studies have shown a direct link between hearing loss and increased risk of anxiety, depression, and dementia. Hearing loss has also been linked with difficulty maintaining balance, leading to an increased risk of falling.
In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers from the University of Michigan showed that the use of hearing aids can significantly reduce the risks associated with hearing loss.
In order to study the benefits of hearing aids, researchers analyzed data from the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation database. After studying approximately 120,000 individuals over the age of 66, all of whom had hearing loss, the researchers were able to draw a series of important, statistically valid conclusions.
Tracking patients from one year before their diagnosis of hearing loss to three years post-diagnosis, the researchers were able to measure several differences between people who wore hearing aids and those who did not. Among the results were the following:
- Patients who wore hearing aids reduced their risk of being diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease by 18%.
- Patients who wore hearing aids reduced their risk of falling by 13%.
- Patients who wore hearing aids reduced their risk of being diagnosed with anxiety or depression by 11%.
Since patient data was only gathered during a three-year span, the significance of these numbers is quite astounding. It seems natural to hypothesize that a longer span of time would result in even larger benefit..
Given the severe consequences of hearing loss, it is unfortunate that less than 13% of individuals diagnosed with hearing loss use hearing aids. One factor in this is cost. Hearing aids can be expensive, and most Medicare plans do not cover the cost.
At PACE programs, like Beacon of LIFE, in Oceanport, NJ, however, hearing aids are fully covered.
That’s because PACE programs are dedicated to caring for participants in every way. Our services include primary care, hospital care, medical specialty services, prescription drugs, nursing home care, emergency services, home care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, adult day care, recreational therapy, meals, dentistry, nutritional counseling, social services, laboratory / X-ray services, social work counseling, and transportation.
Beacon of LIFE maintains an interdisciplinary team of professionals who give each client the coordinated care they need. Our staff specialize in working with older people, and work with each client and their family to develop the most effective plan of care.
Our care and services allow people who would otherwise need to live in a nursing home to live where they want — in their own communities, in their own homes.