Feeling Less Sharp? Your Brain May Need More Sound

New Study Proves Hearing Aids Slowed Cognitive Decline by 48%

July 25, 2023

Results from the Aging and Cognitive Health Evaluation in Elders (ACHIEVE) study were reported for the first time in July of 2023 and found that hearing aids slowed the risk for cognitive decline by 48% in older adults. This study is the largest randomized, controlled clinical trial of hearing aids for reducing long-term cognitive decline in older adults.

The ACHIEVE study looked at older adults aged 70-84 with untreated mild to moderate hearing loss and no substantial cognitive impairment. This study was conducted over the course of three years. A comprehensive neurocognitive test battery was given at the start and end of the three year study and the change in score was calculated. 977 participants were recruited from two study populations: 238 adults participating in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, and 739 healthy community volunteers newly recruited to the study.

The three-year intervention included two groups, one group was provided hearing aids, a hearing “toolkit” to assist with self-management, and ongoing instruction and counseling with an audiologist, while the other comparison group participated in health education and had talk sessions with a health educator about chronic disease prevention.

The results of the comparison of hearing intervention versus control in the total study population were
negative, as was the community population comparison of hearing intervention versus control. The most interesting result was the comparison of the ARIC subgroup hearing intervention versus control, in which a 48% slowing of cognitive decline was observed in those who utilized hearing aids.

The ARIC subgroup had more risk factors for cognitive decline, lower baseline cognitive scores, and a faster rate of three-year cognitive decline during the study than the others.

To find the full detailed study, click here.

Other studies have correlated hearing loss with the risk of developing dementia. These findings go beyond the correlation of hearing loss and cognition and highlight on the importance of treatment of hearing loss to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

If you are concerned about your hearing, contact your local audiologist and schedule a hearing test.