Hearing Aid Use Independently Associated with Reduced Dementia Risk

Sarfaroj Khan 


March 02, 2021


  • Hearing aid (HA) use is independently associated with a lower risk of incident dementia in individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

  • Slower cognitive decline is seen in users than non-users of HA with MCI.

Why this matters

  • The causality between hearing aid use and incident dementia should be further tested in a randomized clinical trial.

Study details

  • A longitudinal retrospective study of 2114 patients (age >50 years) with hearing impairment using data obtained from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center.

  • All patients were classified into two groups according to the disease stage:

    • Group 1: diagnosed with MCI at baseline (n=939).

    • Group 2: diagnosed with dementia at baseline (n=1175).

  • Disease progression was assessed with Clinical Dementia Rating Sum of Boxes (CDR-SB) scores.

  • Funding: National Institute on Aging; National Institutes of Health.

Key results

  • The risk of developing dementia in MCI participants was significantly lower with the use of HA vs non-use (HR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.61-0.89; false discovery rate [FDR] P=.004).

  • The mean annual rate of change (standard deviation) in CDR-SB scores for non-HA users with MCI was 1.7 (1.95) points per year and significantly higher than for HA users of 1.3 (1.45) CDR-SB points per year (P=.02).

  • No statistically significant association was seen between the use of HA and mortality risk in patients with dementia (HR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.78-1.24; FDR P=.89).

  • Higher CDR-SB scores were associated with the increased risk of mortality (HR, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.05-1.11; FDR P<.001).


  • Risk of bias.


Bucholc M, McClean PL, Bauermeister S, Todd S, Ding X, Ye Q, Wang D, Huang W, Maguire LP. Association of the use of hearing aids with the conversion from mild cognitive impairment to dementia and progression of dementia: A longitudinal retrospective study. Alzheimers Dement (N Y). 2021;7(1):e12122. doi: 10.1002/trc2.12122. PMID: 33614893.  View full text (free)

This clinical summary originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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