Recommendation ID

Use of hearing aids and incidence of dementia:- In adults with hearing loss, does the use of hearing aids reduce the incidence of dementia?

Any explanatory notes
(if applicable)

Why this is important:- In the ageing UK population, the incidence of dementia is increasing. Dementia has considerable long-term costs for people with dementia, their families and the NHS, and there is no effective treatment to prevent its progression.
Hearing loss is associated with an increased incidence of dementia. It is estimated that among people with mild to moderate hearing loss, the incidence of dementia is double that of people with normal hearing, and that the ratio increases to 5 times that of people with normal hearing in those with severe hearing loss. The cause of this association is unknown; there may be common factors causing both dementia and hearing loss, such as lifestyle, genetic susceptibility, environmental factors or age-related factors such as cardiovascular disease. Hearing loss may cause dementia either directly (for example, neuroplastic changes caused by hearing deprivation or increased listening demands) or indirectly via social isolation and depression (which are known be associated with cognitive decline and dementia). Conversely, it is possible that cognitive decline has an impact on sensory function (for example, affecting attention and listening skills). Currently, there is no good evidence to show that hearing loss causes dementia or that hearing aids delay the onset or reduce the incidence of dementia. Hearing aids do, however, have the potential to improve functioning and quality of life, and this could delay the progress of dementia or improve its management.

Source guidance details

Comes from guidance
Hearing loss in adults: assessment and management
Date issued
June 2018

Other details

Is this a recommendation for the use of a technology only in the context of research? No  
Is it a recommendation that suggests collection of data or the establishment of a register?   No  
Last Reviewed 30/06/2018