Hearing Aid Technology to Help delay Dementia

The journal edition of The American Geriatrics Society, a medical periodical, has just published research showing that those over 66 years of age who purchase hearing aids immediately after being diagnosed with a hearing loss are statistically less likely to be diagnosed with dementia or depression, or suffer a serious fall, than those aged over 66 who procrastinate getting a hearing aid. 

By researching data from insurance policy holders in Michigan, the University of Michigan medical statistical center has reported that their review of around 115 thousand Michigan citizens whose health insurance covered all or part of a hearing aid purchase shows a nearly 20 percent drop in dementia and Alzheimer’s diagnosis compared with those whose health insurance did not cover any payments for a hearing aid.

Researchers now believe that senior citizens with a hearing loss problem often have bigger rates of depression, dementia, and falling accidents, which has to do with diminishing social interactions, inner ear infections, and fewer opportunities for intellectual stimulation. Some of this can be remedied with immediate installation of hearing aid technology.

Part of the problem, as seen in the recent Michigan study, is that even when insurance pays for all or part of a hearing aid, little more than ten percent of those in the study invested in hearing aids once they were diagnosed with a hearing loss. In a report from John Hopkins it was stated that on a national average senior citizens wait nearly ten years after a hearing loss diagnosis before getting hearing aids — mostly because they dislike the feel of them or think they make them look older than they are. 

In the past the cost of hearing aid technology was a barrier for many senior citizens, but all that is about to change in 2020 when new federal laws will make hearing aid technology eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid subsidies.