Age-related hearing loss is one of the most prevalent health conditions among the elderly. Hearing loss may lead to social isolation, depression, and cognitive decline in older adults. The mechanistic basis for the association between hearing loss and decreased cognitive function remains unknown as does the potential for improving cognition through hearing rehabilitation. To that end, we asked whether the restoration of sensory input through the use of hearing aids would improve cognitive and auditory neural function. We compared a group of first-time hearing aid users with a hearing-matched control group after a period of six months. The use of hearing aids enhanced working memory performance and increased cortical response amplitudes. Neurophysiologic changes correlated with working memory changes, suggesting a mechanism for decreased cognitive function with hearing loss. These results suggest a neural mechanism for the sensory-cognitive connection and underscore the importance of providing auditory rehabilitation for individuals with age-related hearing loss to improve cognitive and neural function. Our findings of improved cognitive function with hearing aid use may lead to increased adoption of hearing loss remedies.
|Number of pages||11|
|State||Published - Jun 2018|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank the participants who participated in this study and the lab members who assisted with the project, in particular Alessandro Presacco for data analysis. This study was supported by 1) the Hearing Health Foundation for support of this study, Francis Kuk, Widex USA, for feedback on the project, and Widex USA for providing hearing aids and participant funds. 2) The Planning and Budgeting Committee for Higher Education in Israel for the postdoctoral fellowship awarded to H.K. 3) The National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders ( R21DC015843 , awarded to S.A.) also contributed to postodoctoral fellowship support for H.K.
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd
- Age-related hearing loss
- Cortical auditory evoked potentials
- Hearing aids
- Hearing loss
- Older adults
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Behavioral Neuroscience