Hearing Aids May Preserve or Improve Cognition in Older Adults

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Julia Sarant, PhD  Associate Professor Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences Melbourne School of Health Sciences

Dr. Sarant

Julia Sarant, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology
Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
Melbourne School of Health Sciences

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Dementia is a rapidly growing global problem. Hearing loss has been identified by the Lancet Commissions as a modifiable risk factor for dementia. There is no treatment for dementia.

This study investigated the effect of hearing aid use on cognition over time in older adults, objectively assessing hearing loss treatment, compliance and benefits while controlling for the effects of other known risk factors for dementia. 

 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Response: Pilot results show statistically and clinically significant improvement or stability in cognition after 18 months of hearing aid use in older adults with hearing loss, suggesting this treatment may delay cognitive decline.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Hearing aid use could be a safe and economical way not only to manage hearing loss but to preserve or improve cognitive function and improve quality of life for longer for older adults.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: We need to confirm these initial findings with a larger number of participants in order to be able to generalize the results to the wider population of older adults, and also to follow cognition over a longer period of time to examine what happens over the longer term.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: This research was funded by Swiss hearing care solutions company, Sonova AG. Two of the authors of the recently published results in the Journal of Clinical Medicine (https://www.mdpi.com/2077-0383/9/1/254), Ulrike Lemke and Stefan Launer, are affiliated with Sonova AG as employees.

Participants were people who had been assessed as needing hearing aids and had decided to trial using them for the first time. Participants were fitted with the hearing aid of their choosing; they were not required to use Sonova branded devices, although some participants did choose Sonova products.


Julia Sarant, David Harris, Peter Busby, Paul Maruff, Adrian Schembri, Ulrike Lemke, Stefan Launer. The Effect of Hearing Aid Use on Cognition in Older Adults: Can We Delay Decline or Even Improve Cognitive Function? Journal of Clinical Medicine, 2020; 9 (1): 254 DOI: 10.3390/jcm9010254



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Last Updated on February 28, 2020 by Marie Benz MD FAAD