JMIR research protocols 2018 03 237(3) e85 doi 10.2196/resprot.8936
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common sensory deficit among older adults. Some of the psychosocial consequences of this condition include difficulty in understanding speech, depression, and social isolation. Studies have shown that older adults with hearing loss show some age-related cognitive decline. Hearing aids have been proven as successful interventions to alleviate sensorineural hearing loss. In addition to hearing aid use, the positive effects of auditory training-formal listening activities designed to optimize speech perception-are now being documented among adults with hearing loss who use hearing aids, especially new hearing aid users. Auditory training has also been shown to produce prolonged cognitive performance improvements. However, there is still little evidence to support the benefits of simultaneous hearing aid use and individualized face-to-face auditory training on cognitive performance in adults with hearing loss.
This study will investigate whether using hearing aids for the first time will improve the impact of individualized face-to-face auditory training on cognition, depression, and social interaction for adults with sensorineural hearing loss. The rationale for this study is based on the hypothesis that, in adults with sensorineural hearing loss, using hearing aids for the first time in combination with individualized face-to-face auditory training will be more effective for improving cognition, depressive symptoms, and social interaction rather than auditory training on its own.
This is a crossover trial targeting 40 men and women between 50 and 90 years of age with either mild or moderate symmetric sensorineural hearing loss. Consented, willing participants will be recruited from either an independent living accommodation or via a community database to undergo a 6-month intensive face-to-face auditory training program (active control). Participants will be assigned in random order to receive hearing aid (intervention) for either the first 3 or last 3 months of the 6-month auditory training program. Each participant will be tested at baseline, 3, and 6 months using a neuropsychological battery of computer-based cognitive assessments, together with a depression symptom instrument and a social interaction measure. The primary outcome will be cognitive performance with regard to spatial working memory. Secondary outcome measures include other cognition performance measures, depressive symptoms, social interaction, and hearing satisfaction.
Data analysis is currently under way and the first results are expected to be submitted for publication in June 2018.
Results from the study will inform strategies for aural rehabilitation, hearing aid delivery, and future hearing loss intervention trials.
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03112850; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03112850 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6xz12fD0B).