Remarkably a recent study suggests that regular use of hearing aids may improve longevity.
Otolaryngologist Dr. Janet Choi, MD, of Kech Medicine of USC, set out to determine whether using hearing aids to improve hearing is associated with a longer life expectancy.
Dr. Choi and other researchers monitored the usage of hearing aids by 1863 adults with hearing loss to assess this. Based on their use of hearing aids, they separated them into three groups: never users, non-regular users of hearing ads, and users of hearing aids on a regular basis. Once demographics and medical history were taken into account, the researchers looked at the relationship between hearing loss, using hearing aids, and mortality. 1.
People with hearing loss who regularly wore hearing aids had a 24% lower risk of mortality compared to those who never wore or used hearing aids,
In other words, there was a markedly lower risk of early death for those who routinely wore hearing aids.
Given all the evidence showing the detrimental effects of untreated hearing loss, the researchers hypothesized that hearing aids improve longevity. Increasingly, untreated hearing loss is being linked to a number of health issues including heart disease, diabetes and depression. Still, the researchers were surprised by the large variation in mortality risk. As a result, the findings caught everyone off guard. A lower risk of mortality provides more proof that hearing restoration is advantageous and a critical component of wellbeing.
Is it possible for people to live longer if they use hearing aids to improve their hearing? Although the study doesn’t establish cause and effect, it’s feasible. The increased longevity may be explained by the possibility that those who regularly wear hearing aids are more likely to avoid social isolation and maintain a higher level of activity.
Moreover, it’s astounding how few people with hearing loss don’t use hearing aids given the advantages. Only about 12% of persons with hearing loss used hearing aids at the time of their research. This is consistent with national data indicating that less than 16% of people with hearing loss use hearing aids.2
Routine use of hearing aids is a key factor in improved longevity.
Individuals who tried hearing aids but never used them consistently had an equal risk of dying prematurely as those who never used them. This emphasizes how crucial consistent use is. In order to adapt, doctors advise new users to wear their hearing aids every day for at least 30 days in a row.
Loss of hearing is an unseen issue. Usually, hearing loss happens gradually over many years. Acclimating to better hearing takes some time. An individual will benefit more from their hearing aids the more often they wear them.
Try again if you are bothered by your hearing aids or if you are not using them. Consult an audiologist, a specialist in the diagnosis and management of hearing impairments. You might need to make adjustments to the hearing aids or try different devices altogether.
In conclusion, this study illustrates another reason why improving hearing with hearing aids is beneficial. The first step is to see a licensed audiologist for a hearing evaluation and hearing aid treatment plan.
- Choi MD, Janet S., Adams, Meredith E, Crimmins, Eileen M., Lin, Frank R, AIlshire, Jennifer A. “Association between hearing aid use and mortality in adults with hearing loss in the USA: a mortality follow-up study of a cross-sectional cohort.” The Lancet, vol. 5, no. 1, January 2024, pp. E66-E75. The Lancet, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanhl/article/PIIS2666-7568(23)00232-5/fulltext#seccestitle10. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2666-7568(23)00232-5
- Based on calculations by NIDCD Epidemiology and Statistics Program staff using data collected by (1) the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) annually for number of persons who have ever used a hearing aid