Project Details

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Dr Helen Henshaw

Dr Eithne Heffernan (University of Nottingham)

Dr Ash Routen (University of Leicester)

Project area or title

What is the prevalence of hearing loss amongst populations with mild cognitive impairment or dementia?


Both dementia and hearing loss are highly prevalent in older adults and often co-exist, increasing the complexity of diagnosis and management for both conditions. As the population ages, an increasing number of people will experience both long-term conditions, exacerbating their detrimental consequences for communication, relationships, independence, and mental health and wellbeing.

Providing hearing aids as early as possible can potentially help delay or reduce dementia risk, may lead to improved cognitive performance in the short-term, and can improve communication, social participation, and quality of life for people with hearing loss.

The evidence review for the NICE guideline on adult hearing loss [NG98] highlighted significant health benefits for people whose hearing loss is identified and addressed at an early stage, yet people often delay seeking treatment. There are certain groups who are particularly disadvantaged because their health issues lead to a lack of awareness of their deteriorating or suboptimal hearing, or a failure to report their difficulties. These include those with dementia and mild cognitive impairment. This project will follow research recommendations of NICE NG98/4:

Population: Adults aged ≥18 years attending memory clinics

Intervention: Identifying the prevalence of modifiable hearing loss.

Comparison: Usage of audiology services

Outcomes: Generate intelligence that would lead healthcare and social care professionals to proactively consider hearing loss in the memory clinic population.

Importance to patients/the population: Improved quality of life and health outcomes in all domains. Reduce health inequalities between populations.

Relevance to NICE guidance: The intention of this research recommendation is to generate robust evidence that would enable NICE to make recommendations to healthcare and social care professionals regarding the possibility of hearing loss in populations who may be unaware of this loss or who are unable to present their hearing difficulties.

Relevance to the NHS: Population benefit: Increased health gain, quality of life Reduced health inequalities.

Importance: High – Given the evidence about the benefits of early detection, research is urgently needed to identify populations who might be unaware of hearing difficulties in order to minimise the risk of further increasing the health inequality divide.




University of Nottingham

Specific Project Eligibility