Treating Hearing Loss: New Findings on Longevity and Risk of Dementia

by Thomas A. Powers, PhD

January 11, 2024


There are many established benefits of treating hearing loss, including one of the most important – improved communication with family, friends, colleagues, and even your doctor or other health professional. With over 38 million people in the United States experiencing hearing loss, the body of research around associated comorbidities and conditions continues to grow, including additional potential benefits of treating hearing loss.  Two recent studies have shed light on the potential benefits of hearing aids beyond just improving your communication: living longer and reducing your risk of dementia.


One study from a group of researchers from the University of Southern California1 examined if wearing hearing aids would not only improve your hearing but increase your chances of living longer, ultimately finding that the risk of mortality was lower among adults who reported regular use of hearing aids compared to those who never used hearing aids, when adjusting for age and severity of hearing loss. When comparing non-regular hearing aid users to never users, there were no significant differences in mortality risks between the non-regular hearing aid users. Hearing aid use has been found to have a positive effect on reducing feelings of loneliness, social isolation, and depression, which could contribute to the lower mortality risk.  Since hearing loss is a modifiable risk for adverse health outcomes, getting and using hearing aids can have several positive health impacts.


This study assessed 9,885 adults (age 20 years and older) who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 1999 and 2012, which included completing a hearing test and a hearing aid use questionnaire (1,863 adults with hearing loss).


In the second study, researchers in Denmark2 analyzed a database of Hearing Examinations in Southern Denmark (HESD) from over 500,000 people. They found that those with hearing loss were associated with increased risk of dementia, especially among those that were not wearing hearing aids. The risk was greater for those with more significant hearing loss. This data agrees with other recent studies showing that wearing hearing aids is one way to reduce the risk of dementia. Other benefits of hearing aid use were reduced, social isolation and of course improved communication.


The take home message is that treating your hearing loss goes beyond just hearing better.  Reducing your risk of dementia and the possibility that you could live longer are two things to consider the next time you ask someone to repeat themselves.  Improved overall health may come with treating your hearing loss and that may be the news you need to take the next step.  Don’t delay, get your hearing tested by a hearing professional.



  1. Janet S Choi, Meredith E Adams, Eileen M Crimmins, Frank R Lin, Jennifer A Ailshire. Association between hearing aid use and mortality in adults with hearing loss in the USA: a mortality follow-up study of a cross-sectional cohort. The Lancet healthy-longevity.   Vol 5   January 2024
  1. Manuella Lech Cantuaria, PhD; Ellen Raben Pedersen, PhD; Frans BochWaldorff,MD, PhD; LeneWermuth, MD; Kjeld Møller Pedersen, PhD; Aslak Harbo Poulsen, PhD; Ole Raaschou-Nielsen, PhD; Mette Sørensen, PhD; Jesper Hvass Schmidt,MD, PhD Hearing Loss, Hearing Aid Use, and Risk of Dementia in Older Adults JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2023.3509 Published online January 4, 2024.

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