Mind & Mood

Hearing aids may reduce cognitive decline

Research we're watching

By , Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch
  • Reviewed by Toni Golen, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing; Contributor

photo of a senior woman being fitted for a hearing aid; a hand is holding the hearing aid in the foreground and the woman is behind it, somewhat out of focus

Hearing loss can contribute to cognitive decline and may increase the risk of dementia. But seeing an audiologist and regularly using hearing aids was linked to slower cognitive decline in people already at higher risk of developing cognitive impairment, a new study suggests.

The analysis, published online July 17, 2023, by The Lancet, involved about 1,000 people ages 70 to 84 (54% women). All had hearing loss, but some were also participating in a long-term study of cardiovascular health and were deemed at higher risk of developing memory and thinking problems. Participants were randomly split into two groups: half received counseling on preventing chronic disease, while the others got hearing aids and treatment for hearing loss from an audiologist. Researchers tracked the groups for three years, rating their cognitive abilities at the end of the study.

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About the Author

photo of Maureen Salamon

Maureen Salamon, Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

Maureen Salamon is executive editor of Harvard Women’s Health Watch. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later covered health and medicine for a wide variety of websites, magazines, and hospitals. Her work has … See Full Bio
View all posts by Maureen Salamon

About the Reviewer

photo of Toni Golen, MD

Toni Golen, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing; Contributor

Dr. Toni Golen is a physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, practicing in Boston. Dr. Golen completed her residency training at George Washington University Medical Center in 1995, and is an associate professor at Harvard Medical … See Full Bio
View all posts by Toni Golen, MD

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