A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found older adults who suffer from hearing loss experience cognitive decline at rates that are significantly faster than the rest of the population.
Researchers conducting the study, which was published to JAMA’s website on Monday, administered two tests that measure a person’s mental abilities - the modified mini-mental state test and the digital substitution test - to a group of 1,984 adults over an 11-year period.
While test scores declined over time for people who had hearing loss and those who did not, the 1,162 individuals studied who had hearing loss saw their scores drop at a rate that was 41 percent faster on the modified mini-mental state test than those who did not have hearing loss, and at a rate that was 32 percent higher on the digital substitution test.
The researches suggested further study would be needed to determine the cause of the link, and whether hearing loss intervention could prevent cognitive decline.
— From staff reports