The cognitive and psychosocial effects of auditory training and hearing aids in adults with hearing loss


Nkyekyer, Joanna ; Meyer, Denny ; Pipingas, Andrew ; Reed, Nicholas S.

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Purpose: Our study assessed the efficacy of the simultaneous use of hearing aids and auditory training for improving cognition and psychosocial function in adults with hearing loss, and the relationships between hearing loss, speech perception and cognition. Participants and methods: A 40-person (aged 50–90 years) pilot study in Melbourne, Australia, was conducted. Participants with hearing impairment completed the Geriatric Depression Scale-Short Form, questions about social activity participation, a wide range of cognitive tasks and a speech perception test at baseline, 3 and 6 months. Participants underwent auditory training for 6 months and used hearing aids for 3 months. Results: Correlations and structural equation modeling suggested that several cognitive domains were associated with speech perception at baseline, but only the Incongruent Stroop cognition measure was associated with hearing loss. Hearing aid use reduced problems with communication, but there were no significant improvements in speech perception, social interaction or cognition. The effect of hearing aids and auditory training for improving depressive symptoms was significant with a moderate to large effect size (Cohen’s d=0.87). Conclusion: The small sample size and a relatively high rate of attrition meant that this study was underpowered. However, baseline results suggested relationships between hearing loss, speech perception and cognition, and the hearing intervention provided evidence of reduced depressive symptoms. A full-scale, randomized hearing loss intervention and a longer neuroimaging study with cognitive outcomes measured in the short term as well as after several years of hearing aid use are needed.

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Journal article


Clinical Interventions in Aging, Vol. Volume 14 (Jan 2019), pp. 123-135




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