The Cochleaf Implant International Community of Action (CIICA) with EUROCIU today (1 December 2021) launched a new briefing on how addressing hearing loss could help support healthy ageing by mitigating against the effects of cognitive decline and dementia. Reviewing recent research the briefing concludes that early intervention in the form of using hearing aids could mitigate the progression of cognitive decline and possibly dementia in older people.
It also reviewed growing evidence which points towards Cochlear Implants (CI) having the potential to arrest cognitive decline for many CI recipients. This in turn suggests that Cochlear Implants, and other hearing instruments, combined with appropriate rehabilitation, could positively impact on the progression of dementia while not necessarily being able to reverse it.
Leo De Raeve, Acting Chair of CIICA comments:
During the last decade, the relationship between hearing loss, cognitive decline and dementia has become clearer. This document brings together the recently published evidence related to the impact of hearing loss on cognition, of hearing technology, of not addressing hearing loss and dementia and offers several suggestions for action. Not only for professionals in the field of hearing care, but also for users’ associations (such as EURO-CIU) and advocacy groups (such as CIICA), this is a very valuable document which can support them in their actions.
Teresa Amat, President of EUROCIU says:
This topic has concerned us for some time and we wanted to pursue it for our members. Thanks to CIICA and EURO-CIU collaboration we have this strong document which brings all the evidence together to make the case for addressing hearing care and preventing hearing loss as well as invest in hearing technology. This is a must for all countries, administrations and organizations interested in hearing care and ageing well.
The authors conclude:
“While future research is needed to better evaluate the mechanisms, hearing loss is the most important potentially reversible risk factor for dementia. (WHO, 2021; Livingston, 2020). Professionals, Health Authorities and those with hearing loss should be aware of this association. If we can mitigate the onset or effects of dementia through addressing hearing loss early this could make a large impact on reducing the overall costs associated with dementia and the burden on caregivers and society.
If we can mitigate the onset of effects of dementia through addressing hearing loss early this could make a large impact on reducing the overall costs associated with dementia and the burden of caregivers on society.”
CI International Community of Action (CIICA) is a global network of 74 organisations and 330 individuals who aim to improve access to cochlear implantation and lifelong services for all who could benefit.
For more information on the impact of hearing loss globally see World Health Organization (2021). World Report on Hearing www.who.int/health-topics/hearing-loss
For more information on the link with Dementia and hearing loss see; Livingston G, et al., (2020). Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commission, Lancet, 396, 413-446.