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Treating Auditory impairment and CogniTion (TACT) pilot trial

TACT is a pilot trial of timely hearing aid fitting and support for people with mild cognitive impairment.

Research has shown that people with poor hearing are more likely to develop dementia. Over two-thirds of UK people aged over 65 have hearing loss, but most do not get hearing aids. Even if they do, up to half of people often stop using their hearing aids, especially if they have memory problems. Untreated hearing loss may be a missed opportunity to delay the onset of dementia or prevent it altogether.

Based on our research, we have developed a new intervention to increase hearing aid use in people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). MCI is a state between normal aging and dementia, which increases dementia risk. We will assess the hearing of people diagnosed with MCI. If their hearing is poor, we will fit hearing aids in their home, and give expert advice and support to help them use the hearing aids to improve communication in their daily life.

TACT is a pilot trial of this intervention, where a computer will randomly select if people with MCI and hearing loss receive our new hearing aid intervention, or a healthy ageing intervention. This pilot trial will allow us to find out if participants think the hearing aid intervention is acceptable and helpful. We will measure if the intervention helps people to stick to using the hearing aids, and if their hearing aid use is higher than in people who receive the healthy ageing intervention. The pilot trial will also allow us to identify any problems with the interventions, and fix them. This work will tell us if a much larger and longer trial of these interventions is feasible. If it is, our next step will be to run this larger trial and find out if hearing aid use, as supported by our intervention, can delay or prevent dementia in the long run.

The TACT pilot trial is funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health

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