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Cognitive function and hearing loss: Can treatment of hearing loss delay cognitive decline or even improve cognitive function?

The University of Melbourne

Hearing loss is a modifiable risk factor for dementia, yet approximately 83% of people or more with hearing loss do not use hearing devices.

This research project aims to investigate the effect of hearing aid and cochlear implant use on cognition in older adults, controlling for other dementia risk factors. These effects have not yet been examined in a longitudinal study that objectively assesses hearing loss treatment, compliance and benefits while controlling for the effects of other dementia risk factors.

Initial results show statistically and clinically significant improvement or stability in cognition after 18 months of device use in older adults with hearing loss, suggesting this treatment may delay cognitive decline. Expected health outcomes are a proven, cost-effective treatment for delaying cognitive decline, which could greatly improve quality of life for older adults and result in significant cost savings, and a behavioural strategy for supporting increased device use.

We are looking for adults aged 60+ with hearing loss and no previous dementia diagnosis who would like to try using either hearing aids or cochlear implants (as suitable) for the first time to participate in the research study.

This study has been approved by the University of Melbourne Behavioural and Social Sciences Human Ethics Sub-Committee (Ethics ID: 1646925) and Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital Human Research Ethics Committee (Ethics ID: 15/1217H)


For further information, please contact Associate Professor Julia Sarant on (03) 9035 5325 or at

Participant duration

An approx 1.5-2 hr appointment (plus filling in questionnaires at home for approx 1 hour) at 18 month intervals over a maximum of 6 years

Available to people living in


Study begins

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Study ends

Thursday, 31 December 2026


To find out more about this study, contact:

Associate Professor Julia Sarant

The University of Melbourne

(03) 9035 5325

550 Swanston Street, Carlton VIC 3053

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Last updated
20 March 2024