UK researchers find hearing aids and cataract surgery slow rates of cognitive decline

University of Manchester scientists find that addressing problems with hearing and vision can soften the trajectory of age-related mental deterioration


UK researchers have highlighted the impact of hearing and visual aids on rates of age-related mental decline.

A study published in PLOS One found that the pace of cognitive decline was halved in individuals following cataract surgery, while research in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that mental deterioration lowered by 75% following the adoption of hearing aids.

Dr Piers Dawes and Dr Asri Maharani, both from the University of Manchester, worked alongside each other on the two studies.

Dr Dawes said that the results highlight the importance of ensuring that people can access visual and hearing aids.

“It’s not really certain why hearing and visual problems have an impact on cognitive decline, but I’d guess that isolation, stigma and the resultant lack of physical activity that are linked to hearing and vision problems might have something to do with it,” he shared.

Dr Maharani explained that age is one of the most important factors in cognitive decline.

“We find that hearing and vision interventions may slow it down and perhaps prevent some cases of dementia, which is exciting — though we can’t say yet that this is a causal relationship,” she highlighted.