Adult cognition and hearing aids
Age-related hearing loss and its social and emotional ramifications have been studied extensively (1). Similarly, cognitive ageing, the measurable deficits in mental performance associated with advancing age, has been researched in many different populations and subgroups (2). Recently, research has identified links between cognitive ageing and hearing loss (3, 4). The impact of wearing hearing aids has been extensively researched and shows measurable improvements in quality of life for older populations with hearing loss (1, 5). Preliminary results will be presented from a study investigating the effect of hearing loss on two aspects of cognitive function shown to deteriorate with age; selective attention and working memory (2). Adults with hearing loss, opting for bilateral hearing aid fitting were assessed for cognitive function before and after 3 weeks of hearing aid use. Subjective hearing handicap was surveyed via the Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit (APHAB) and Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults (HHIA). Results for the intervention group were compared to hearing loss and age-matched controls N = 28. Findings lend support for determining the role of hearing aid fitting as a clinically viable method for arresting the effects of cognitive aging on selective attention and working memory, for a New Zealand cohort. 1. Arlinger S. Negative consequences of uncorrected hearing loss-a review. International Journal of Audiology. 2003;42(2):2S17-2S20. 2. Fabiani M, Gratton G. Aging working memory and attention control: A tale of two processing streams? In: Stuss DT, Knight RT, editors. Principles of frontal lobe function. 2nd ed. New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press; 2013. p. 582-92. 3. Lin FR, Yaffe K, Xia J, Xue Q-L, Harris TB, Purchase-Helzner E, et al. Hearing loss and cognitive decline among older adults. JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(4):293-9. 4. Pichora-Fuller MK. Cognitive decline and hearing health care for older adults. American Journal of Audiology. 2015;24:108-11. 5. Pichora-Fuller MK. Effects of age on auditory and cognitive processing: Implications for hearing aid fitting and audiologic rehabilitation. Trends in Hearing. 2006;10(1):29-59.