Left untreated, acquired hearing loss is known to be a significant risk factor for developing dementia in later life [more info].

Led by Professor Michael Breakspear, researchers at the University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute are using MRI brain imaging to measure changes in brain function and structure after cochlear implant surgery.

What are the aims of the study?

The aim of this project is to establish how the treatment of acquired hearing loss reduces the risk and severity of dementia onset, and to promote healthy ageing through early interventions.


What does the study involve?

Participation in this study involves two 4-hour sessions at the HMRI Imaging Centre. The two sessions will be scheduled 12-18 months apart.

For hearing loss patients, the first session will take place before cochlear implant surgery and the second visit is 12-18 months after surgery. The sessions include brief questionnaires, some thinking and memory tests, and a 1-hour MRI scan of your brain.

Who can participate?

The study is open to people aged over 21 years who do not have a serious mental health condition or acute brain injury.

We are recruiting people with acquired hearing loss that are eligible for treatment with cochlear implant devices.

We are also looking to recruit healthy adults who do not have hearing loss to participate as ‘control’ participants. As the study involves MRI brain scanning, it is not suitable for people with severe claustrophobia.



Contact information:

To find out more or to register your interest, please contact: Dr Megan Campbell

This study has been approved by the Hunter New England Health Human Research Ethics Committee. Reference number: 2021/ETH01358