In the United States, approximately 1 in 3 people between the ages of 65 and 74 struggle with hearing loss. Over the age of 75, nearly half the population has difficulty hearing.1 Not only does hearing loss make it difficult to communicate with clinicians about care, respond to warnings, and lead to feelings of isolation, but studies show that it may be related to cognitive decline.2 There are major implications surrounding hearing loss and its impact on neurodegeneration and mental health.
As the geriatric population increases and hearing aids become more affordable, it is imperative for both providers and patients to recognize the barriers to care and the stigma that exist in this therapeutic area. 3 Patients are risking additional comorbidities due to their embarrassment or shame around hearing loss or wearing hearing aids. Utilizing contacts or glasses to correct vision is widely accepted in American society, so it is interesting to see how vastly different people feel about hearing aids and corrective hearing tools even though it has such a large impact on day-to-day interactions and can even have extremely detrimental long-term effects. In fact, there was a 2020 case report that indicated an 8% reduction in dementia prevalence when hearing loss was eliminated.2 Most patients struggling with hearing loss do not immediately seek treatment, which could have a severe impact on their brain health. Cognitive decline is a major concern for a rising number of elderly patients in the United States…
…To be continued in Issue 2.
At BRAINWeek 2022, Dr. Justin Golub from Columbia University’s Department of Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery will provide education on the impact of hearing loss on neurological decline, as well as its potential impact on the field of psychiatry.
1. Age-Related Hearing Loss (Presbycusis) – Causes and Treatment. National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/age-related-hearing-loss.
2. Livingston G, Huntley J, Sommerlad A, et al. Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commission. Lancet. 2020 Aug 8;396(10248):413-446. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30367-6. Epub 2020 Jul 30. PMID: 32738937; PMCID: PMC7392084.
3. 3. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/reviewed/2022/08/18/fda-over-counter-hearing-aids-what-laws-mean-where-buy/10356745002/