New Study Suggests Hearing Aids Could Extend Lifespan

Health | January 8, 2024, Monday // 12:00|  views


A groundbreaking study published in The Lancet Healthy Longevity by Keck Medicine of USC reveals a potential link between hearing aid use and increased lifespan. With approximately 40 million American adults experiencing hearing loss, the study urges those in need to consider wearing hearing aids, highlighting their potential life-extending benefits.

The research found a staggering 24% lower mortality risk among regular hearing aid users compared to those who never used hearing aids. This substantial difference persisted regardless of various factors such as the severity of hearing loss, age, ethnicity, income, education, and medical history.

Dr. Janet Choi, an otolaryngologist at Keck Medicine and the lead researcher of the study, expressed excitement over these findings. She emphasized the potential role of hearing aids in preserving health and preventing premature death, emphasizing the protective aspect they may offer.

Untreated hearing loss has previously been associated with adverse outcomes like social isolation, depression, dementia, and even reduced life expectancy. However, this study represents a significant leap in understanding the potential benefits of utilizing hearing aids, particularly in relation to mortality risk.

Analyzing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999-2012, researchers tracked nearly 10,000 adults over a decade. Among the 1,863 identified with hearing loss, 237 were regular hearing aid users, while 1,483 never used these devices.

While the study did not delve into the specifics of why hearing aids might contribute to longevity, Choi referenced existing research linking their use to reduced depression and dementia. She speculated that the improvement in mental health and cognition resulting from improved hearing could positively impact overall health and potentially increase lifespan.

Despite these promising findings, Choi acknowledged various obstacles to hearing aid usage, including cost, stigma, and difficulties in finding well-fitting devices. Drawing from her own experiences with hearing loss, Choi empathized with these challenges, having struggled to find effective hearing aids that suited her needs.

The study, regarded as one of the most comprehensive analyses on the subject in the United States, aims to encourage wider acceptance and utilization of hearing aids, potentially offering a life-extending solution for those with hearing impairments.

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Tags: hearing, AIDS, lifespan, research


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