A complementary article on the research that our research center is doing on cognition and hearing was recently published at HealthyHearing. Part of the research is being conducted by Tassos Sarampalis and Erv Hafter at UC Berkeley—I wish the reporters had interviewed them as well.
Here are some passages from the article:
Engineering has taken hearing aid technology to its current high standards. However, even though 91% of all hearing devices are digital, offering improved sound quality, Edwards is quick to point out that hearing impairments still lead to slowed speech communication, diminished access to the environment and others, limited hearing and interpretation of non-speech sounds, the loss of spatial hearing and selective attention issues that impact cognitive development.
Thus, there is a need for hearing science to take a more active role in the development of the next generation of hearing aids – devices that not only improve hearing, but also better facilitate the cognitive processes once sound input is delivered to the brain.
Indeed, hearing aid technology has made major strides in the past decade and we can anticipate that improvements to existing devices will continue to be made. We can also look forward to technological advancements that improve cognitive activities in hearing impaired individuals.