At the end of December 2021, an updated version of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease was published to add an additional goal to “accelerate action to promote healthy aging and reduce risk factors for Alzheimer’s Disease.”
In 2011, the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) (Public Law 111-375) was signed into law and requires the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish the National Alzheimer’s Project to create and maintain an integrated national plan to overcome Alzheimer’s disease.
On December 27, 2021, a ninth update to the national plan was published and included the following two action items related to increasing access to hearing aids in recognition of linkage between untreated hearing loss and dementia.
- (NEW) Action 6.B.2: Increase access to hearing aids for individuals with hearing loss.
Lead Agency: Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Hearing loss has been identified as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease/Alzheimer’s Disease Related Dementias (AD/ADRD), and recent research has demonstrated that hearing aid use is associated with reduced dementia risk. Hearing aids are often expensive, making them inaccessible to many individuals who could benefit.
- (NEW) Action 6.E.3: Reduce financial barriers to hearing aids for individuals with hearing loss.
The Academy has been actively engaged on this topic and is a member of the UsAgainstAlzheimer’s coalition—a group comprised of many organizations promoting healthy aging, equity, and brain health.
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