Hearing loss treatment in older adults with cognitive impairment: A systematic review

Sara K. Mamo, Nicholas S. Reed, Carrie Price, Dona Occhipinti, Alexandra Pletnikova, Frank R. Lin, Esther S. Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this systematic review was to assess studies of treating hearing loss in older adults with cognitive impairment. Of interest to this review is identifying clinical adaptations that may be used to tailor hearing loss treatment to older adults with cognitive impairment in order to better serve this vulnerable population. Method: A systematic search with controlled vocabulary and key word terms was applied to PubMed, the Cochrane Library, Embase, CINAHL, and PsycINFO. Search concepts included terms related to hearing loss and cognitive impairment. The overall search resulted in 4,945 unique references, 50 of which were eligible for full-text review and 13 of which were included in the final review. Included manuscripts were categorized according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s levels of evidence and the National Institutes of Health Quality Assessment Tools. Results: Only 1 study implemented a randomized controlled trial design to assess cognitive function and behavioral symptoms after treatment with hearing aids. Other quasiexperimental studies evaluated dementia-related symptoms and/or auditory function after treating hearing loss in pre/post research designs. Finally, evidence from case studies suggested that hearing loss treatment is feasible, reduces stressful communication for caregivers, and improves dementia-related behavior problems. Conclusion: Based on the systematic review, evidence suggests that treating hearing loss in persons with cognitive impairment can have benefits to communication and quality of life. Because of the quasi-and nonexperimental nature of most of the evidence found in this review, further studies are necessary to understand the effect of treatment in the context of a variable and progressive disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2589-2603
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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