The approval of Aduhelm, an expensive and controversial treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, has been roundly and deservedly criticized, and the manufacturer’s close relationship with the FDA questioned. The approval of the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids, on the other hand, should be applauded by anyone who cares about dementia and cognitive decline.
Friends and family may confuse a person’s loss of hearing with cognitive decline; certainly, difficulty hearing conversation can cause miscommunications, impair social interactions, and contribute to anxiety and frustration.
It turns out, though, that hearing loss can actually cause a decrease in cognitive ability. And while most causes of cognitive decline are not reversible, this one is: Evidence indicates that hearing aids protect people against further cognitive decline.