Could a hearing aid help keep dementia at bay? HearCog is looking to find out

HearCog, our ground-breaking, two-year randomised control trial into hearing loss and dementia is well underway.

Tackling a global health priority, the study is investigating whether hearing aids can delay or even stop cognitive decline.

Audiologist and Research Lead for the Cognition and Hearing Loss Project Dr Dona Jayakody developed the trial concept back in 2015 when she began researching the link between cognition and hearing loss.

“My research found that hearing loss is associated with cognitive impairment/dementia so I was interested in finding out whether this could be delayed or arrested by treating hearing loss. Current data suggests hearing loss accounts for 8% of the modifiable risk factors of all cases of dementia.”

– Dona Jayakody

HearCog is investigating whether the correction of hearing loss using hearing aids could decrease the 12-month rate of cognitive decline among older adults at risk of dementia. 180 older adults with hearing loss and mild cognitive impairment have been recruited to undertake the study.

Several important issues emerged during the recruitment phase and as the study commenced, with participants reporting that their hearing loss was contributing to loneliness, social isolation, communication challenges and quality of life.

Study participants completed comprehensive assessments of their hearing, cognitive skills, mental and physical health, and lifestyle, before being fitted with hearing aids.

Cognitive assessments that are suitable for the hearing impaired are being used, and data is being logged to track the number of hours participants are using their hearing aids.

Preliminary findings are expected to be published mid-2024.

Dona recently featured on 6PR’s Perth Live. Listen to the interview here:  

6PR Perth live – 13 February episode. Interview commences at 1:00:42.