Benefits of cognitive training for people with hearing loss

Chief investigator

Dr Melanie Ferguson

Study team

Dr Helen Henshaw

Ashana Tittle


NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research unit programme

Study period


Background and rationale

Working memory enables us to encode, store and manipulate information that is currently in use. Working memory is therefore very important for successful listening and communication. Results from our auditory training studies (Benefits of auditory training... and Identification of appropriate and sensitive outcomes...) suggest that post-training improvements in working memory are associated with improvements in our ability to understand speech, particularly in challenging listening situations. This study investigates whether directly training working memory can offer increased benefit to the real-world listening abilities of people with hearing loss and hearing aids.


- Adults aged 50-74 years of age, with mild to moderate sensorineural (age-related) hearing loss and who wore hearing aids, volunteered to take part in this study.
- Cognitive training (Cogmed RM) was delivered at home via the internet for 30-40 minutes per day, 5 days per week over 5 weeks.
- Benefits of cognitive training were measured using tests of speech perception, cognition and self-reported hearing.

Future directions

Results from this study will help us to determine the best type of training (auditory or cognitive) to improve real-world listening abilities of people with hearing loss.

Henshaw, H. Ferguson, MA. (2013). Working memory training for adult hearing aid users: study protocol for a double-blind randomized active-controlled trial. Trials, 14:417.

Cogmed RM working memory training


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