About 38 million people in the United States suffer from some type of hearing loss. As if losing the ability to hear wasn't bad enough, studies have found that people suffering from hearing loss experience cognitive decline at a faster rate than people with normal hearing. There is some good news, though. Preliminary research indicates that using a hearing aid may slow the progression of this decline.

About the Study

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology evaluated the data of 253 Maryland residents over a period of 20 years. The average age of the group was 77. These people were tested several times over the years on memory, language, learning, and processing speed. Although all participants experienced some cognitive decline during that time period, the researchers found people who wore hearing aids experienced the least amount.

It's unknown why people who wore hearing aids fared better than those who didn't. Researchers in other studies theorize that the cause of cognitive decline may be the result of social isolation. It is also thought that the brain expends quite a bit of its resources attempting to correct or accommodate the hearing loss, which could be impacting its ability to manage memories and other tasks.

However, the hearing aid study was limited to one racial group (white Americans) and region. Additionally, hearing aids cost an average of $4,400 to $4,500 and are not covered by insurance. Therefore, socioeconomic factors may also be at play since people who can afford hearing aids may be able to pay for better healthcare and other beneficial services.

Finding Money for Hearing Aids

Though how much the use of hearing aids impacts the mental health of someone with hearing loss is still under debate, there's no denying they can have a positive impact on the person's quality of life. However, paying for hearing aids is often the primary challenge people must overcome to get these devices.

Many hearing aid companies have some type of financing available, so taking advantage of the credit offered is one way to pay for them. Using money in a health savings account can also net significant savings since the money comes from pre-taxed earnings.

A third option is to locate an organization that provides financial assistance to people looking to buy hearing aids. For instance, some colleges and universities provide monetary help through the state vocational rehabilitation agency to students who need hearing devices.

To learn how hearing aids can help you or your loved one or for help in locating financing for these devices, connect with a hearing aid company like Jacobs Clinical Diagnostics in your area.