New TECH Talk: The relationship between hearing loss and cognitive function


TECH Talks

Dr. Anil Lalwani, Vice Chair for Research in Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery at Columbia University Medical Center, capitalizes on his 25 years of experience to explore the clinical and quality-of-life benefits of earlier implantation for hearing loss.

In a three-part video series, Dr. Lalwani describes the implications of earlier treatment through cochlear implantation. In this TECH Talk, he reviews the effects of hearing loss on cognition and brain volume. He again highlights the shift from only implanting the profoundly deaf to now implanting patients with significant residual hearing since CI outcomes are more predictable than they were in the past.

brain & cognitionDr. Lalwani cites results from a study¹ conducted on patients 80 years and older, finding a direct correlation between hearing loss and cognitive decline. This research shows that individuals with hearing aids had better cognitive function than those without hearing aids, even if their hearing loss was worse – demonstrating that treatment for hearing loss has a positive effect on cognition.

Further, his research also indicates that earlier intervention may lead to the mitigation of hearing loss consequences. For example, age and whole brain atrophy had a direct relationship but those with treated hearing loss and loss of temporal lobe atrophy did not have whole brain atrophy. So, use of hearing aids can lead to preservation of brain volume that might otherwise be lost if hearing loss wasn’t treated beforehand.

Watch Dr. Lalwani’s TECH Talk to learn more about the benefits of early intervention for hearing loss:


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1. Qian ZJ, Chang PD, Moonis G, Lalwani AK. A novel of quantifying brain atrophy associated with age-related hearing loss. Neuroimage Clin. 2017;16:205-209. Published 2017 Jul 24. doi:10.1016/j.nicl.2017.07.021

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