Making sense of hearing-related neurocognitive impairment: The Auditory Ageing and Cognitive Impairment (AUDACIOUS) Pilot Study.
It is well established that older adults with significant hearing difficulties are more likely to experience cognitive decline and dementia. This link between hearing loss and problems with memory and thinking may be due to communication difficulties, that then lead to withdrawal from activities that are good for maintaining brain health. It is thought that managing hearing loss with hearing aids and other hearing health interventions may reduce a person’s future risk of dementia. However, quality evidence for this is lacking. The Auditory Ageing and Cognitive Impairment Study (AUDACIOUS) will examine the extent to which the relationship between poor hearing and impaired cognitive functioning is explained by lower levels of participation in mentally stimulating activities. It will also investigate if use of hearing rehabilitation services and hearing aids protect against decline. The project findings will have important implications for dementia prevention interventions and practice in hearing health.
Dr Kiely is an NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow within Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and the UNSW School of Psychology.