End of year update
Impact of COVID-19
COVID-19 has had a significant negative impact on our study this year, as we have been unable to see any of our participants for much of the year. We were happy to be able to gain ethics approval to offer contactless cognition assessment for some part of the year, and again now, and would like to thank all participants who supported this initiative and allowed us to visit you at home, while maintaining COVIDsafe practices.
We are now very busy trying to catch up on assessments in order to be able to conduct a further statistical analysis in January. If enough participants are happy to have their assessments done, we hope we will be able to include our first results for the 36 months follow-up point.
Updated results after 18 months of hearing aid use
Hearing aid benefits and use
- Within one week of hearing aid fitting, 47% of participants were comfortable with using their devices, with 88% of participants using their hearing aids 8-13 hours per day.
- Sex differences in use have persisted since the last analysis, with 57% of females using their HAs >90% of the time (14-hr day), vs 33% of males.
- Objectively measured speech perception in quiet (words) and noisy (sentences) listening conditions improved significantly when using hearing aids, compared with prior to hearing aid fitting
- Subjective listening disability:44 - 61% of participants reported significantly lower listening disability across different listening situations.
- Self-reported quality of life was significantly improved.
- Self-reported incidence of anxiety and depression were very low at baseline (17% & 4%). There was a trend towards improvement in anxiety at 18 months (17% at baseline, decreased to 11%) but this was not statistically significant.
- Group mean scores for all participants across the cognitive test battery showed no significant decline, except for psychomotor function (the ability to co-ordinate body movements to perform tasks such as using a computer, driving a car, playing a musical instrument or sporting activities) in males. This result is likely driven by outliers, as the standard deviation had notably increased at 18 months versus baseline.
- Executive function (planning, organization, remembering things, prioritizing, paying attention and getting started on tasks) performance significantly improved by >11% of the baseline mean score.
- Examining executive function by sex, there was an average 5% improvement for males and a 19% improvement for females.
- In addition to executive function improvements, females also showed clinically significant improvement on working memory, visual learning & visual attention
- Scores showed either clinically significant improvement or stability in executive function for 95.5% of participants, 84.5% for working memory, 86.7% for visual learning, 75.6% for psychomotor function and 77.8% for visual attention.
- Significant improvement in executive function was observed for the whole participant group using hearing aids.
- Little decline was observed, with clinically significant improvements also seen for other higher order functions for females.
- No change in cognitive function over time was observed in comparative groups.
- Cognitive function in older adults with hearing loss who use hearing aids can not only remain stable, but can improve significantly over time.
- More frequent use of hearing aids was associated with greater, and wider, improvements in cognitive function.
- Further follow-up with a greater number of participants over a longer time period is ongoing.
Updated results after 18 months of cochlear implant use
- 84 baseline assessments had been conducted by May. Due to COVID-19, no further recruitment has been possible this year.
- Executive function (planning, organization, remembering things, prioritizing, paying attention and getting started on tasks) performance significantly improved for both men and women.
- Other higher order cognitive functions also significantly improved in both men and women.
- Scores showed either clinically significant improvement or stability in executive function for 89.4% of participants, 76.3% for working memory, 81.6% for visual learning, 71.1% for psychomotor function and 60.5% for visual attention.
AIBL study comparison group data
- There was no significant change in cognitive function after 18 months in our comparison group of 79 ‘healthy aging’ adults.
Cogstate aggregated group; executive function outcomes
- The AIBL study does not administer the Cogstate assessment of executive function, these outcomes for study participants were compared with those of an aggregated sample of 839 healthy aging older adults from Australia & U.S. with no health / cognitive conditions at assessment, who were part of the normative sample for the Cogstate battery.
- No significant change was observed in scores for this group after 18 months.
Once again, we would like to thank all of our participants for their patience and support this year, and we are looking forward to a busy 2021!