Project AMM45

Hearing loss and dementia - HEARD

Hearing Loss is a major risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia in midlife (Livingston et al 2020)
Use of hearing aids has been associated with a decrease in hazards of cognitive decline (Yeo et al 2021)
Unclear if people with hearing loss are aware of the future risk for cognitive decline and dementia and how hearing aids use is critical for their future cognitive health


The Lancet Commission for Dementia has in its most recent report identified hearing loss as a major risk factor for cognitive decline and potentially dementia in midlife (age 45- 65). According to the Lancet Commission’s meta-analyses, hearing loss at midlife nearly doubles the risk for cognitive decline/dementia later in life. Not surprisingly, the Lancet Commission recommended treating hearing impairment as a major focus for the prevention of cognitive decline/dementia in their report, although the underlying causes/reasons of how hearing impairment treatment might affect the risk for dementia are not yet established. More importantly, virtually all people undergoing hearing impairment at midlife are not aware of the significant future risk for cognitive decline/dementia and how hearing aid compliance might be therefore critical for their future cognitive health.

Project Aims

  • The project aimed to establish service users perspective on midlife hearing loss and later life cognitive decline/dementia
  • Co-produced outcome measures for a NIHR RfPB application with service user to investigate how provision of hearing aid impacts cognitive decline
  • Prepared a RfPB application investigating hearing aid provision on cognitive health

Project Activity

  • 30-minute interviews with 4 Hearing Aid users 57-65 years old and 2 audiologists about cognitive health
  • Patient interviews topics: use of HA, risk of cognitive decline, expectations from cognitive assessment
  • Clinician interviews topics: cognitive screening as part of hearing assessment and fitting
  • All participants completed online cognitive tests prior to the interview

Anticipated or Actual Output

  • Inform ICS hearing services

Who was involved?

  • Prof Michael Hornberger
  • Mr Giorgos Dritsakis- UEA
  • Mrs Aliona Derrett (Hear for Norfolk charity)


Professor Michael Hornberger,