Effectiveness of Hearing Rehabilitation for Care Home Residents With Dementia: A Systematic Review

  • Hannah Cross
    Address correspondence to Hannah Cross, MSc, A3.08, Ellen Wilkinson Building, Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness, School of Health Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, United Kingdom.
    Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness, School of Health Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
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  • Piers Dawes
    Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness, School of Health Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom

    School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, University of Queensland, Australia
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  • Emma Hooper
    Division of Psychology and Mental Health, School of Health Sciences, University of Manchester, United Kingdom

    Department of Rehabilitation and Sports Science, Institute of Health, University of Cumbria, United Kingdom
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  • Christopher J. Armitage
    Manchester Centre for Health Psychology, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom

    Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Manchester, United Kingdom

    NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom

    NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre, Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Manchester, United Kingdom
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  • Iracema Leroi
    Global Brain Health Institute, School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
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  • Rebecca E. Millman
    Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness, School of Health Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom

    NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre, Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Manchester, United Kingdom
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Published:December 15, 2021DOI:



      To report the effectiveness of, and barriers and facilitators to, hearing rehabilitation for care home residents with dementia.


      Systematic review.

      Setting and Participants

      Care home residents with dementia and hearing loss.


      No restrictions on publication date or language were set and gray literature was considered. Eligible studies were critically appraised and presented via a narrative review.


      Sixteen studies, most of low to moderate quality, were identified. Hearing rehabilitation, including hearing devices, communication techniques, and visual aids (eg, flashcards), was reported to improve residents' communication and quality of life and reduce agitation, with improvements in staff knowledge of hearing loss and job satisfaction. Residents' symptoms of dementia presented barriers, for example, losing or not tolerating hearing aids. Low staff prioritization of hearing loss due to time pressures and lack of hearing-related training for staff were further barriers, particularly for residents who required assistance with hearing devices. Adopting a person-centered approach based on residents’ capabilities and preferences and involving family members facilitated hearing device use.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Residents with dementia can benefit from hearing rehabilitation. Identifying and implementing efficient, individualized hearing rehabilitation is necessary for those with complex cognitive needs. Increased funding and support for the social care sector is required to address systemic issues that pose barriers to hearing rehabilitation, including time pressures, lack of training for staff and access to audiology services for residents.


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