Caring For Vision And Hearing Helps Maintain Mental Clarity In Old Age

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Caring For Vision And Hearing Helps Maintain Mental Clarity In Old Age
Caring For Vision And Hearing Helps Maintain Mental Clarity In Old Age

Video: Caring For Vision And Hearing Helps Maintain Mental Clarity In Old Age

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Caring for vision and hearing helps maintain mental clarity in old age

Timely restoration of vision and hearing, including the use of hearing aids and eye surgery, helps maintain mental acuity and memory in old age. This is impressively evidenced by two new studies.

Caring for vision and hearing helps maintain mental clarity in old age
Caring for vision and hearing helps maintain mental clarity in old age

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By the age of 40, 1 in 10 adults have a marked decrease in hearing acuity. Hearing deteriorates slowly and gradually, so it is difficult to know if something is missing.

When a person is convinced of hearing problems, age-related memory loss may already begin. But this process can be slowed down by restoring hearing with a hearing aid, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Scientists followed about 2,000 older adults before and after hearing aids as part of the US National Health and Retirement Study.

“We found that the rate of cognitive decline slowed 75% after hearing aids were introduced. This is an amazing result,”says the author of the publication Asri Maharani, a researcher in the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology at the University of Manchester.

Assessment of cognitive ability over time was carried out every two years (from 1996 to 2014) as a series of face-to-face tests. To assess memory, it was required to repeat a list of 10 words immediately after the words were read aloud, and then after distraction with other tasks.

“We didn't expect using a hearing aid to reverse cognitive decline. But the reduction in the rate of change is quite significant,”explains experimental psychologist Piers Dawes, one of the study's authors.

Slowing down the rate of decay equated memorizing less than one more word on the test. This is a small but measurable finding, further proving a strong link between hearing loss and cognitive decline.

According to audiologist Dina Rollins, who was not involved in the study, "stimulating your ears stimulates the nerves that stimulate your brain."

Hearing loss leads to social isolation, but many do not want to wear a hearing aid for fear of looking old. In recent years, the technology of their manufacture has advanced significantly - they have become much less noticeable, especially when covered with hair.

Another obstacle is the high cost. Often a person agrees only after the persuasion of loved ones. However, the quality of life is noticeably improved after the hearing aid is installed.

Another common condition as we age is blurred vision, usually due to cataracts. A study by the same researchers and published in PLOS One shows that vision restoration significantly slows down cognitive decline.

The Longitudinal Study of Aging in England, similar to the American study mentioned above, evaluated the long-term outcomes of about 2,000 older adults undergoing cataract surgery.

“We found that the rate of cognitive decline slowed by 50% after cataract surgery,” says Maharani.

Healthy aging depends on many factors - lifestyle, diet and physical activity. But it's important to know that vision correction and hearing problems are equally important.

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