Column by David Stanke and Adriane Fugh-Berman: More than a new drug, hearing aids deserve attention in targeting Alzheimer’s disease | Chroniclers







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By David Stanke and Adriane Fugh-Berman

By David Stanke and Adriane Fugh-Berman

The Food and Drug Administration recently made two important decisions – one bad, one good – that will affect people with cognitive decline.

The approval of Aduhelm (aducanumab), an expensive and controversial treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, has been hotly and rightly criticized, and the manufacturer’s close relationship with the FDA has been called into question.

The approval of the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids, on the other hand, should be applauded by all who care about dementia and cognitive decline.

Friends and family can mistake a person’s hearing loss for cognitive decline; Certainly, difficulty hearing a conversation can cause communication problems, interfere with social interactions, and contribute to anxiety and frustration.

It turns out, however, that hearing loss can actually lead to decreased cognitive abilities. And although most of the causes of cognitive decline are not reversible, this is: Evidence indicates that hearing aids protect people against further cognitive decline.

Currently, hearing aids are prohibitively expensive and require multiple visits to a specialist. A lost or broken hearing aid can cause a substantial financial blow. The FDA’s decision to allow the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids will reduce cost barriers and increase availability for a community in need.

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