The Hearing Aids, Antidote to Brain Decline
And if equipping the hearing-impaired aged hearing aid was a source of savings for Social Security? This is the question that arises from the study that Inserm has just made public. For, good news, for the first time it has been shown that the brain decline of people with hearing aid devices is no different from that of naturally hearing people. Conversely, the hearing impaired have experienced a significant decline over the twenty-five years following the study. “These results demonstrate the importance of screening and management of hearing disorders,” says Professor Hélène Amieva, who publishes these results in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. “Hearing aid now has a place alongside regular physical activity and a varied diet to help you age well.”
ENT doctors’ unions and hearing care professionals immediately provided patients with an information sheet to demystify the equipment.
An unpublished study in several ways
– Its scale, rare in the world of research makes it particularly valuable. The results come from the Paquid survey, which began twenty-five years ago. In total, 3777 people over 65 received a visit every two years from a team evaluating their physical and mental health status with a battery of tests.
– Its object too. Let’s start from the beginning. The link between a decrease in hearing ability and the appearance of health problems is demonstrated by numerous studies. People who hear badly suffer more depressions, difficulties of orientation and memory problems. Their intellectual agility is equivalent on average to that of a person older than 6.8 years. A moderate hearing loss doubles the risk of dementia, a severe loss multiplies it by five.
– Remained the real question: do these disorders evolve along with the hearing loss, or are they its consequence? Say otherwise: does a hearing aid compensating for the loss avoid these disorders? The French study shows that yes. A satisfaction for the team of researchers and Hélène Amieva who has been following this topic for years in the Inserm unit “epidemiology and biostatistics” of Bordeaux. Passionate and pragmatic, she had already been one of the first to support non-drug therapies for Alzheimer patients.
For the health authorities, it is time to release the calculator: given the increase in life expectancy, therefore the number of expected dementias, and the financial and social cost of their care, which savings would be achievable financing the equipment of those who need it? Today, 30% of people over 65 have a hearing problem, more than 70% after 85 years. And less than one in three is equipped, largely for financial reasons.