Hearing Loss Rehabilitation and Higher-Order Auditory and Cognitive Processing

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Link between SNHL and cognition, potential mechanisms, and effects of rehabilitation

Research into hearing loss and its effects on cognitive functions has revealed a number of interesting findings. Older adults often struggle with complex listening situations due to a combination of auditory and cognitive decline. Cochlear implantation has been shown to improve cognitive functions in older adults, with those with worse preoperative cognitive skills experiencing the most benefit. Hearing loss is associated with long-term memory complaints, and is linked to faster cognitive decline in older adults. Executive functioning in Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing (DHH) children is associated with better performance on higher-order language measures. Age-related hearing loss is associated with increased gray matter atrophy in the temporal lobe.

The following highlights have been revealed:

  • Hearing aids introduce distortion when fitting them to normally-ageing older adults.
  • Cortical activation of the left inferior frontal is associated with variability in outcomes of cochlear implantation.
  • Cognitive screening in audiology is acceptable to participants, but additional time and staff resource and supplementary training for audiologists would be required.
  • The cocktail-party problem relies on both perceptual and cognitive processes.
  • Cognitive functions, visual cues, and temporal cortex are beneficial for adult cochlear implant users.
  • Hearing loss is associated with long-term memory complaints, but not with short-term memory complaints.
  • The German language version of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment-Hearing Impaired version (MoCA-HI) is suitable for people with hearing impairment.
  • Working memory is the most reliable predictor of perceptual restoration ability.
  • Age-related differences in sensorimotor and cognitive variables are present from middle age onward.
  • Auditory rehabilitation by cochlear implantation has a stimulating effect on cognitive functions.
  • Executive functioning at baseline predicted spoken language outcomes 1 year later in both Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing (DHH) and typically hearing (TH) children.
  • Longer durations of deafness are correlated with better hearing abilities and higher amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (ALFF) values in
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