Author(s): Dawes P, Cruickshanks KJ, Fischer ME, Klein BE,Klein R, Nondahl DM. Hearing-aid use and long-term health outcomes: hearing handicap, mental health, social engagement, cognitive function, physical health, and mortality. Int J Audiol. 2015;54(11):838-44. doi: 10.3109/14992027.2015.1059503. Epub 2015 Jul 3. PMID 26140300
Journal: International Journal Of Audiology, Volume 54, Issue 11, 2015
OBJECTIVE To clarify the impact of hearing aids on mental health, social engagement, cognitive function, and physical health outcomes in older adults with hearing impairment.
DESIGN We assessed hearing handicap (hearing handicap inventory for the elderly; HHIE-S), cognition (mini mental state exam, trail making, auditory verbal learning, digit-symbol substitution, verbal fluency, incidence of cognitive impairment), physical health (SF-12 physical component, basic and instrumental activities of daily living, mortality), social engagement (hours per week spent in solitary activities), and mental health (SF-12 mental component) at baseline, five years prior to baseline, and five and 11 years after baseline.
STUDY SAMPLE Community-dwelling older adults with hearing impairment (N = 666) from the epidemiology of hearing loss study cohort.
RESULTS There were no significant differences between hearing-aid users and non-users in cognitive, social engagement, or mental health outcomes at any time point. Aided HHIE-S was significantly better than unaided HHIE-S. At 11 years hearing-aid users had significantly better SF-12 physical health scores (46.2 versus 41.2; p = 0.03). There was no difference in incidence of cognitive impairment or mortality.
CONCLUSION There was no evidence that hearing aids promote cognitive function, mental health, or social engagement. Hearing aids may reduce hearing handicap and promote better physical health.