The reason: Moderate to severe hearing loss can apparently exacerbate cognitive problems. But hearing aids can go a long way towards preventing such problems, according to a study published recently in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
The researchers responsible for this study followed 253 older Maryland residents from 1990 through 2013, testing them periodically for memory, learning, language, processing speed and attention. Most of those studied had experienced some level of hearing loss over the years. Astoundingly, the scores of those who wore hearing aids declined only slightly over 20 years, compared to those with normal hearing. Those who did not wear hearing aids, on the other hand, demonstrated the largest declines in their test scores.
From what I see at the nursing home where I hang out, the elderly can themselves be the biggest obstacle to getting the hearing aids they so clearly need. I don’t know why they object to them so strenuously; I’ve certainly never heard anyone resist being fit for new eyeglasses.
Perhaps this study will provide their children with much-needed ammunition for getting their loved ones to at least consult an audiologist about their options.