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

Occurring Dates
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
State of study

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.

Participation details

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

Ethics approval for this research has been obtained from:
1. University of Melbourne Behavioural and Social Sciences Human Ethics Sub-Committee (Ethics ID: 1646925).
2. Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital Human Research Ethics Committee (Ethics ID: 15/1217H).

Study Address
550 Swanston Street, Carlton
NB. Home visits for those who do not wish/cannot travel are offered.
Full Name
Associate Professor Julia Sarant
The University of Melbourne
Phone Number
(03) 9035 5325