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Department of Cognitive Science

Seminar Abstract

The impact of hearing loss and hearing aid technology on cognitive function.

Speaker : Dr Brent Edwards, , National Acoustic Laboratories.
Date : 29th of May 2018, 11:00AM until 12:00PM
Location : Australian Hearing Hub, 3.610, Macquarie University.

    Hearing loss and cognitive function interact in both a bottom-up and top-down relationship. The cognitive ability of a person is correlated with their ability to perform complex auditory tasks, such as understanding speech in a noisy environment, and recent evidence suggests that the ability to benefit from certain technologies is related to cognitive ability. Conversely, hearing loss has been shown to have a negative impact on cognitive function. The diminished representation of sound due to sensorineural hearing loss results in greater load of the cognitive mechanisms working to process the auditory signal. This increased listening effort from hearing loss can result in poorer memory, poorer comprehension, and poorer processing speed. If a diminished representation of sound increases cognitive load, a natural correlate is that the enhancement of the representation of sound through hearing aid technology may reduce cognitive load, with resulting improvement in concomitant cognitive function. Finally, a correlation between hearing loss and both increased cognitive decline and dementia has been discovered. Our knowledge to-date of all of these findings will be reviewed as will the clinical relevance of these findings.

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