October 1st marks a special day on the calendar; International Senior Day.
This day isn’t just about recognizing the incredible wisdom and the wealth of experience that comes with age; it’s about understanding the intricate challenges that seniors face and ensuring we equip ourselves with knowledge to navigate these challenges, particularly in areas of cognition and hearing health.
The intricate dance between cognitive health and hearing is more intertwined than one might initially think. In fact, recent studies have showcased the importance of addressing hearing health to stave off cognitive decline in our golden years.
The Landmark Study Connecting Cognition and Hearing Health
In December 2022, CNN Health unveiled the findings of the largest peer-reviewed study in history, one that delves deep into the connection between untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline.
Conducted by renowned researchers from JAMA Neurology, including Brian Sheng Yep Yeo, MBBS1; Harris Jun Jie Muhammad Danial Song, MBBS1, and Emma Min Shuen Toh, MBBS1, this was no ordinary study.
Spanning continents, this global trial incorporated 13 studies from Europe, 12 from North America, three from Asia, and two from Australasia. A staggering 137,484 participants were part of this meta-analysis, which consisted of 25 observational studies and 6 trials.
They probed the association between hearing loss and cognitive decline, covering durations ranging from two to a whopping 25 years.
The findings? Profound.
First, there was a clear indication that the use of hearing aids corresponded with a 19% reduction in long-term cognitive decline. As senior study author Dr. Benjamin Tan, of the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore, astutely remarked, “Dementia is far easier to prevent than treat, and exceedingly difficult to reverse.”
Second, and perhaps most encouragingly, was the observation that even those who began with mild cognitive impairment benefitted from hearing aids, showing approximately a 20% lower risk of progressing to full-blown dementia.
The takeaway? It’s never too late to adopt hearing aids, but early intervention could be key in preserving optimal cognition.
Summarizing the findings, the report stated: “In this meta-analysis, the usage of hearing aids and cochlear implants is associated with a decreased risk of subsequent cognitive decline; physicians should strongly encourage their patients with hearing loss to adopt such devices.”
This pioneering study on 137,484 participants has revolutionized our understanding of the nexus between cognitive decline and hearing aids/cochlear implants.
Keeping the Brain Active: Puzzles and More
But what about daily activities? Can they also play a part in keeping our brains agile?
Absolutely. Research has long supported the role of brain-teasing activities like Sudoku and word searches in maintaining cognitive health.
So, while you’re pondering over the recent study findings, why not take a quick break and challenge yourself with some of the word searches and Sudoku puzzles we’ve linked for you? It’s not just fun – it’s brain food!
As we celebrate International Senior Day this year, let’s commit to a holistic approach. Let’s understand the power of sound, the importance of treating hearing loss, and the simple joys (and benefits) of a good puzzle.
If this resonates or you feel the slightest niggle about your hearing, don’t sit on it. We’re here for each other. If you think you or a loved one could benefit from a hearing test, please, schedule an appointment.
It’s a step towards ensuring our days remain filled with the joy of sound and sharp memories!
Contact Us for Hearing Assistance
If you or a loved one is concerned about your hearing, the team at Provincial Hearing is here to help. We currently have appointments available for new patients. Please call us in Truro at 1-888-897-1147, Bridgewater at 1-888-323-4111, or Kentville at 1-877-257-5525 to schedule a convenient date and time for your visit.
With untreated hearing loss potentially worsening cognitive decline, we encourage you not to delay seeking help.