June 16, 2024

Summary: GN launched a global initiative called “LISTEN TO THIS,” aimed at highlighting the importance of hearing health as a critical component of cognitive well-being and overall health. 

Takeaways:

  1. Through the “LISTEN TO THIS” initiative, GN is establishing a network designed to foster collaboration and share knowledge among healthcare professionals, researchers, and advocacy groups, all focused on the interplay between hearing and cognitive health.
  2. The initiative underscores the global scale of hearing loss, with estimates suggesting that over 1.5 billion people currently experience some degree of hearing loss.
  3. The “LISTEN TO THIS” initiative includes an online platform that serves as a central hub for accessing the latest research and educational materials related to hearing and cognitive health. 

GN has launched a global initiative called “LISTEN TO THIS” aimed at ensuring that hearing health is recognized as an important factor in good cognitive health and overall wellbeing. 

GN’s Collaborative Initiative

Through the initiative, GN is connecting leading public and private organizations through its innovation unit BrainWorks. The network, which includes UsAgainstAlzheimer’s and the National Acoustics Laboratories (NAL), spans continents and sectors, uniting healthcare providers, researchers, and patient advocacy groups with a common goal.

Globally, it’s estimated that more than 1.5 billion people experience some degree of hearing loss.(1) And by 2050 this number is set to grow to 2.5 billion.(1) Over 400 million people with hearing loss could benefit from using hearing devices.(2) However, less than 20% of these needs are fulfilled(2)—a reality which is impacting both the health of individuals and the health of society.

Broader Health Implications of Hearing Loss

Despite a reasonable level of awareness around the social impact of hearing loss, there remains a surprising lack of awareness around the broader health implications, according to GN. BrainWorks was established to explore the relationship between hearing and wider health, aiming to combine the best academic research with the latest in technological innovation. The launch of “LISTEN TO THIS” is an important milestone in helping to elevate the importance of hearing health as part of overall wellbeing, in particular cognitive health.

“The correlation between hearing loss and cognitive health is complex and spans multiple clinical domains and scientific disciplines,” says Scott Davis, Hearing Division President at GN. “Furthering knowledge and understanding will require continued focus on research and development through cross-disciplinary and innovative partnerships to drive awareness and education. This is the intent of the LISTEN TO THIS movement.”

Further reading: GN Launches Campaign to Challenge Misperceptions about Hearing Aids

Resources for the LISTEN TO THIS Initiative 

“LISTEN TO THIS” includes an online central hub that allows both the public and professionals to access the latest research and educational content that connects hearing and cognitive health, all curated by experts in the field. It is designed to be an essential shared resource for anyone looking to deepen their understanding of these interconnected aspects of health and participate in innovative projects.

“Research continues to show an undeniable connection between hearing and cognitive health,” says George Vradenburg, chair and co-founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “Hearing loss can impact the social interactions which are so important for memory and other brain functions and performance. Hearing aids themselves are an important means of reducing the risk of cognitive decline. We’re proud to be part of a collaboration raising awareness of this connection and the need for leaders to make cognitive health a public priority.”

Each partner brings unique expertise and resources to the initiative, contributing to its multifaceted approach towards furthering understanding and awareness of the inter-connectivity between hearing health and cognitive health. 

Reference:

  1. Deafness and hearing loss. World Health Organization (2024).
  2. WHO issues guidance to improve access to hearing care in low- and middle-income settings. World Health Organization (2024). 

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