Cognition, hearing loss and how Livio AI hearing aids can help with both

Research surrounding the correlation between hearing loss and cognition is immense and still growing. For instance:

  • We know that adults with hearing loss have shown greater declines in cognitive function than their peers with normal hearing.
  • Another study points out that older adults with hearing loss are two-to-five times more at risk of developing dementia than their normal-hearing counter-parts.
  • In this same study, it was found that with every 10 dB measured increase in hearing loss, there was a 20% increased risk of developing dementia.
  • Public health testing suggests that hearing loss may be a risk factor for cognitive decline.

The reasons why this correlation exists are still being examined, but science offers several valid theories:

  • Long term auditory deprivation may prevent the brain from receiving neural input. This is the use-it-or-lose-it theory and suggests that it is important to stimulate your brain with auditory input.
  • Individuals with hearing loss may reduce their participation in group activities and withdraw from social interactions. There is a connection between social isolation and depression and cognitive decline. The idea surrounding this theory is that individuals with hearing loss are less likely to participate in social events, which in turn may lead to isolation or depression, which in turn may lead to cognitive decline.
  • Trying to listen and understand speech may be using multiple cognitive resources such as working memory. Since the brain’s focus is listening, many of these cognitive resources can’t be used elsewhere.

Hearing aids can be helpful in preventing each of these reasons from occurring:

  • They can help to stimulate the brain and deliver the auditory pathway information.
  • They can encourage individuals to participate in social activities, reducing their risk of depression and social isolation.
  • They can help reduce the cognitive effort an individual may need to use to listen.

Lastly, a study completed in 2015 found that elderly adults who wore hearing aids had similar rates of cognitive decline as their normal hearing peers. This suggests that simply wearing hearing aids can allow individuals with hearing loss to slow down the progression of cognitive decline.

How Starkey Livio AI hearing aids can help you!

From the research outlined above, you can see how important it is to use your hearing aids for your cognitive health. Using sensors and artificial intelligence, Starkey Livio AI hearing aids go even further, giving you feedback on your cognitive health and measuring a Brain Score for you daily. The score is broken down into three categories. The categories and goals are listed and described below with an explanation of why daily feedback is important for your cognitive health:


Brain Score measurement

What it measures

Why it’s important

Use Time

The amount of time the hearing aids are worn.

A study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (2015) found that wearing hearing aids reduces the risk of cognitive decline associated with hearing loss.


How much time is spent in environments where the user engages in conversation with others or streams audio, like phone calls.

It was found that most people who currently wear hearing aids say it positively affects their ability to participate in group activities (Better Hearing Institute, n.d.).

Active Listening

The variety of environments and situations experienced throughout the day.

The greater the variety of environments encountered, the more enriched the brain will be by the stimulation from these environments.


The combination of these goals leads to a maximum Brain Score of 100. The Thrive Hearing app maintains a Brain Score history to show progress over time. The Brain Score is a valuable tool to help you track and measure your cognitive health.

Take a proactive approach to your future cognitive health

With Livio AI hearing aids, you now have a way to both treat your hearing loss and take proactive steps to minimize your risks of hearing-loss related cognitive decline and dementia. No wonder they were named a TIME Best Invention of 2019! To try them for yourself, call 1-888-908-1845 or click here and we can help you schedule a consultation and demonstration with a hearing professional near you.

Join our community of Starkey Blog subscribers

Want a week's worth of Starkey blogs delivered to your inbox? Sign up here.


  • Amieva, H., Ouvrard, C., Giulioli, C., Meillon C., Rullier, L., & Dartigues, J. F. (2015). Self-reported hearing loss, hearing aids, and cognitive decline in elderly adults: A 25-year study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015 Oct;63 (10):2099-104. doi: 10.1111/jgs.13649.
  • Baltes, P. B. & Lindenberger, U. (1997). Emergence of a powerful connection between sensory and cognitive functions across the adult life span: “A new window to the study of cognitive aging?” Psychology and Aging, 12, 12–21.
  • Better Hearing Institute. (n. d.) How can treating hearing loss help me stay youthful and active? Retrieved from:
  • Birren, J. (1964). The Psychology of Aging. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall
  • Gates, G. A. & Mills, J. H. (2005). Presbycusis. Lancet. 366(9491): 1111–1120.
  • Lin, F. R., Yaffe, K., Xia, J., Xue, Q. L., Harris, T. B., Purchase-Helzner, E., & Simonsick, E. M. (2013). Hearing loss and cognitive decline in older adults. JAMA Internal Medicine, 173, pp. 293–299. doi:10.1001/ jamainternmed.2013.1868
  • Lin, M. Y., Guttierrez, P. R., Stone, K. L., Yaffe, K., Ensrud, K. E., Fink, H. A., . Study of Osteoporotic Fractures Research Group. (2004). Vision impairment and combined vision and hearing impairment predict cognitive and functional decline in older women. Journal of the American Geriatric Society, 52, pp. 1996–2002.
  • Lin, F. R., Yaffe, K., Xia, J., et. al. (2013). “Hearing loss and cognitive decline in older adults,” JAMA Internal Medicine, vol. 173, no. 4, pp. 293–299.
  • Lin, F. R. (2011). “Hearing loss and cognition among older adults in the United States,” Journals of Gerontology A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, vol. 66, no. 10, pp. 1131–1136.
  • Lin, F. R., Ferrucci, L., Metter, E. J., An, Y., Zonderman, A. B., & Resnick, S. M. (2011). “Hearing loss and cognition in the Baltimore longitudinal study of aging.” Neuropsychology, vol. 25, no. 6, pp. 763–770.
  • Lindenberger, U. & Baltes, P. B. (1994). Sensory functioning and intelligence in old age: A strong connection. Psychology and Aging, 9, pp. 339–355.
  • Pichora-Fuller, M. K. & Singh, G. (2006). “Effects of age on auditory and cognitive processing: implications for hearing aid fitting and audiologic rehabilitation.” Trends in Amplification, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 29–59.
  • Plassman, B.L., Langa, K.M., Fisher, G.G. Heeringa, S.G., Weir, D.R., Ofstedal, M.B., Wallace, R.B. (2007). Prevalence of dementia in the United States: The aging, demographics, and memory study. Neuro epidemiology, 29, 125-132.
  • Schneider, B. A., Pichora-Fuller, K., & Daneman, M. (2010). “Effects of senescent changes in audition and cognition on spoken language,” in The Aging Auditory System, Gordon-Salant, S., R. Frisina, D., Popper, A. N., & Fay, R. R., Eds., vol. 34 of Springer Handbook of Auditory Research, pp. 167–210, Springer, New York, NY.
  • Steffens, T., Lesinski-Schiedat, A., Strutz, J., Aschendorff, A., Klenzner, T., Rühl, S., . . . Lenarz, T. (2008) The benefits of sequential bilateral cochlear implantation for hearing-impaired children. Acta Otolaryngol 128(2):164–176
  • Tay, T., Wang, J. J., Kifley, A., Lindley, R., Newall, P., & Mitchell, P. (2006). “Sensory and cognitive association in older persons: Findings from an older Australian population,” Gerontology, vol. 52, no. 6, pp. 386–394.
  • Tun, P. A., Williams, V. A., Small, B. J., & Hafter, E. R. (2012). “The effects of aging on auditory processing and cognition,” American Journal of Audiology, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 344–350.
  • Wahl, H. W. & Heyl, V. (2003). Connections between vision, hearing, and cognitive function in old age. Generations, 27, pp. 39–45.


By Starkey Hearing