Victorian research finds hearing aids boost brain function

Published: 8 April 2024

Two hands placing a hearing aid into the ear of a womanHearing aid users experience benefits to their brain function according to new results from Victorian medical researchers.

Thanks to the Victorian Government’s Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund (VMRAF) and Sonova AG, the Evaluation of Hearing Aids and Cognitive Effects (ENCHANCE) study found that improving hearing capabilities can benefit our brain function and may even slow down the early signs of dementia.

The 3-year study at the University of Melbourne worked with adults over 60 with age-related hearing loss, finding that hearing aids significantly improved their cognitive performance.

The changes in cognitive performance over the course of the study showed hearing aid participants were significantly better than the control participants when tested at 18 months and 36 months.

The symptoms of dementia can be confusing for older Australians, and the risk of cognitive decline doubles with only mild hearing loss.

ENHANCE’s findings have real-world impacts for the health and quality of life of older adults, as hearing aids are simple, proven and cost-effective tools that are already widely available in Australia.

ENHANCE was jointly funded by the Victorian Government and Sonova AG Switzerland, and supported by the University of Melbourne and Cogstate.

The VMRAF program has provided more than $20 million in funding to fast-track medical research projects in Victoria.

World-class medical research continues to grow in Victoria with life-saving research breakthroughs, strong economic growth and thousands of new jobs.