Mechanisms and treatment of age-related hearing loss

Mechanisms and treatment of age-related hearing loss

Hearing impairment risk factor for dementia

Nearly 40% of senior citizens are affected by age-related hearing loss (ARHL). The disorder often impairs speech perception, which leads to social isolation and depression, but ARHL is also recognized as an important modifiable risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia. Hearing aids and cochlear implants remain underutilized, and as they do not restore normal hearing, there is a large need for improved therapies.

Cognitive hearing aids

In this research program, physiologists, cognitive neuroscientists, engineers and physicians collaborate to find novel treatments and investigate the mechanisms behind ARHL. The work will include basic research aimed at finding new targets for treatment and define the cortical mechanisms that lead from hearing loss to dementia, clinical trials evaluating novel diagnostic techniques and personalized, targeted treatment of the inner ear, and technical research aimed at developing cognitive hearing aids that automatically sense user demands and adjusts device performance accordingly.

New treatment methods

The result will be improved understanding of the basic mechanisms of ARHL, new treatment methods, and progress toward eliminating a disease contributing to social isolation, depression, and dementia. This project is a continuation of a successful collaboration that started with the Linnaeus Center HEAD, which was funded by the Swedish Research Council. Formal evaluations characterized the centre’s work as world leading and resulted in increased funding.

We hear with our ears, but listen and understand with our brainsShow/Hide content

This video is about our research on hearing loss and deafness, and the brain's role in our hearing and how everyday life can be made easier for people with hearing loss (in sign language, ASL).

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International press about hearing loss and dementia

Article in New York Times 

Hearing Loss Threatens Mind, Life and Limb 

Poor hearing is not just an annoying inconvenience. New studies give ample cause for taking hearing loss seriously. Consider, for example, the link to dementia. People who can’t hear well often become socially isolated and deprived of stimuli that keep the brain cognitively engaged. As input lessens, so does brain function.

Article in The Lancet Commissions

Dementia prevention, intervention and care

Dementia is the greatest global challenge for health and social care in the 21st century: around 50 million people worldwide have dementia and this number is predicted to triple by 2050. The Lancet Commission on dementia aims to review the best available evidence and produce recommendations on how to best manage, or even prevent, the dementia epidemic.

Article in Frontiers in Neuroscience

 Tutorial on Auditory Attention Identification Methods

 Our ultimate goal is to provide an overview of the state-of-the-art for how linear models are used in the literature to decipher human auditory attention by exploiting the brain activity elicited during attentive listening to a single sound source in an acoustically complex background.

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