Effects of hearing aid on improving cognition and depressive symptoms in elderly


  • K. J. Arun Kumar Department of ENT, Government Villupuram Medical College, Villupuram, Tamil Nadu, India
  • M. Vidyalakshmi Department of Geriatric Medicine, JIPMER, Pondicherry, India




Cognitive decline, Dementia, Depression, Hearing aid


Background: The prevalence of dementia among people aged over 60 years is between 5–7%, with the numbers of those affected globally predicted to double every 20 years between 2010 and 2050. While cognitive impairment and dementia have a negative impact on the individual, caregivers and society, the financial burden of cognitive decline and dementia are also a major source of concern. However, there is some cause for optimism in the form of potentially modifiable risk factors which can prevent or delay dementia. In this study we investigate the effect of hearing aid on improving cognition and depressive symptoms in elderly individuals with hearing impairment.

Methods: Patients with hearing impairment were selected based on inclusion and exclusion criteria and prescribed with similar type of hearing aid. MMSE and GDS scores were obtained before fitting hearing aid and 3 months after fitting hearing aid.

Results: A total number of 66 patients, 40 males (61%) and 26 females (39%) were included in the study. Before using hearing aids, the mean MMSE score was 18.98±5.37 (range 10–26), and it increased to 21.08±4.77 (range 12–27) after 3 months of hearing aid use (p<0.005). The GDS analysis revealed a mean score of 6.85±2.81 (range 3–11) before using hearing aid and it decreased to 5.44±1.82 (range 3–8 after using the hearing aid (p<0.005).

Conclusions: Treating hearing loss with hearing aid may reduce burden associated with cognitive decline and depression.



Sindhusake D, Mitchell P, Smith W, Golding M, Newall P, Hartley D et al. Validation of self-reported hearing loss. The Blue Mountains Hearing Study. Int. J. Epidemiol. 2001;30:1371-8.

Amieva H, Ouvrard C, Giulioli C, Meillon C, Rullier L, Dartigues JF. Self-reported hearing loss, hearing aids, and cognitive decline in elderly adults: A 25-year study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015;63:2099-104.

KJ, Wiley TL, Tweed TS, Klein BEK, Klein R, Mares-Perlman JA et al. Prevalence of hearing loss in older adults in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin: The Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study. Am J Epidemiol. 1998;148:879-86.

Lin FR, Metter EJ, O’Brien RJ, Resnick SM, Zonderman AB, Ferrucci L. Hearing loss and incident dementia. Arch Neurol. 2011;68:214-20.

Beck DL, Flexer C. Listening is where hearing meets brain in children and adults. Hearing Review. 2011;18(2):30-5.

Sheikh JI, Yesavage JA. Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS): recent evidence and development of a shorter version. In: Sheikh, J.I., Yesavage, J.A. (Eds.), Clinical Gerontology: A Guide to Assessment and Intervention. The Haworth Press, New York. 1986;165-73.

Lindenberger U, Baltes PB. Sensory functioning and intelligence in old age: A strong connection. Psychology and Aging. 2000;9:339-55.

Gates GA, Mills JH. Presbycusis. Lancet. 2005;366(9491):1111-20.

Pichora-Fuller MK, Singh G. Effects of age on auditory and cognitive processing: implications for hearing aid fitting and audiologic rehabilitation. Trends in Amplification. 2006;10(1):29-59.

Plassman BL, Langa KM, Fisher GG, Heeringa SG, Weir DR, Ofstedal MB et al. Wallace. Prevalence of dementia in the United States: The aging, demographics, and memory study. Neuro Epidemiol. 2007;29:125-32.

Tun PA, Williams VA, Small BJ, Hafter ER. The effects of aging on auditory processing and cognition. Am J Audiol. 2012;21(2):344-50.

Wahl HW, Heyl V. Connections between vision, hearing, and cognitive function in old age. Generations. 2003;27:39-45.

Lin FR, Yaffe K, Xia J. Health ABC Study Group. Hearing loss and cognitive decline in older adults. JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(4):293-9.

Tay T, Wang JJ, Kifley A, Lindley R, Newall P, Mitchell P. Sensory and cognitive association in older persons: Findings from an older Australian population. Gerontology. 2006;52(6):386-94.

Cankurtaran M, Yavuz BB, Cankurtaran ES, Halil M, Ulger Z, Ariogul S. Risk factors and type of dementia:vascular or Alzheimer? Arch Gerontol. Geriatr. 2008;47:25-34.

Gazzola JM, Aratani MC, Dona´ F, Macedo C, Fukujima MM. Factors relating to depressive symptoms among elderly people with chronic vestibular dysfunction. Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2009;67:416-22.

Chang HP, Ho CY, Chou P. The factors associated with a self-perceived hearing handicap in elderly people with hearing impairment: results from a community-based study. Ear Hear. 2009;30:576-83.






Original Research Articles