Evaluation of Cogmed RM Working Memory Training to Improve Cognition, Speech Perception and Self-Reported Hearing Abilities of Adult Hearing Aid Users

Institution: University of Nottingham

Investigator(s): Helen Henshaw, Melanie Ferguson

Program: Cogmed RM

Background & Aim: One in ten people aged between 55-74 years have a significant hearing impairment in their better hearing ear (as defined by audiometric hearing thresholds). However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the challenges faced by older listeners cannot be explained by the audiogram alone (Kiessling et al, 2003). The ability for people with hearing loss to use cognition to support context allows for compensation of degraded auditory input, which in turn offers promise for new cognitive-based rehabilitative interventions (Kricos, 2006; Pichora-Fuller, 2008). Working memory is known to be highly associated with language comprehension (Akeroyd, 2008; Rönnberg et al., 2008), and recent evidence has shown significant generalisation of on-task learning from Cogmed training tasks to improvements in sentence-repetition skills of children who are cochlear implant users with severe to profound hearing loss with (Kronenberger et al, 2011). This evidence offers support for further investigation into the potential benefits of working memory training to improve speech perception abilities in other hearing impaired populations.

A double-blind randomised active-controlled trial aims to assess whether Cogmed RM (adaptive) working memory training results in improvements in untrained measures of cognition, speech perception and self-reported hearing abilities in older adults (50-74 years) with mild-moderate hearing loss who are existing hearing aid users, compared with an active placebo Cogmed (placebo) control.

Population & Sample Size: N = 62 adults with hearing loss, ages 50-74 years
• n = 31 adults in adaptive Cogmed training group
• n = 31 adults in non-adaptive (placebo) Cogmed training group

Design: Randomized, age-gender matched, double blinded, placebo controlled, test-retest

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