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.