Hearing aids to support cognitive functions of older adults at risk of dementia: the HearCog trial- clinical protocols

Dona M.P. Jayakody, Osvaldo P. Almeida, Andrew H. Ford, Marcus D. Atlas, Nicola T. Lautenschlager, Peter L. Friedland, Suzanne Robinson, Marshall Makate, Lize Coetzee, Angela S.P. Liew, Leon Flicker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Globally, about 50 million people were living with dementia in 2015, with this number projected to triple by 2050. With no cure or effective treatment currently insight, it is vital that factors are identified which will help prevent or delay both age-related and pathological cognitive decline and dementia. Observational data have suggested that hearing loss is a potentially modifiable risk factor for dementia, but no conclusive evidence from randomised controlled trials is currently available. Methods: The HearCog trial is a 24-month, randomised, controlled clinical trial aimed at determining whether a hearing loss intervention can delay or arrest the cognitive decline. We will randomise 180 older adults with hearing loss and mild cognitive impairment to a hearing aid or control group to determine if the fitting of hearing aids decreases the 12-month rate of cognitive decline compared with the control group. In addition, we will also determine if the expected clinical gains achieved after 12 months can be sustained over an additional 12 months and if losses experienced through the non-correction of hearing loss can be reversed with the fitting of hearing aids after 12 months. Discussion: The trial will also explore the cost-effectiveness of the intervention compared to the control arm and the impact of hearing aids on anxiety, depression, physical health and quality of life. The results of this trial will clarify whether the systematic correction of hearing loss benefits cognition in older adults at risk of cognitive decline. We anticipate that our findings will have implications for clinical practice and health policy development. Trial registration: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR: 12618001278224), registered on 30.07.2018.

Original languageEnglish
Article number508
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

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