Phonak Unveils ECHHO Program to Deepen Understanding of Hearing Loss and Cognitive Health

phonak cognition echho
July 18, 2023

STAFA, SWITZERLAND – On the heels of new studies showing that treating hearing loss in older adults may slow down cognitive decline, Phonak is announcing a new training program: ECHHO (Enhancing Cognitive Health via Hearing Optimization).

This dedicated training program aims to empower hearing care professionals (HCPs) with the knowledge and tools to better integrate the cognitive health aspect into their discussions with clients. The ECHHO program, which will be rolled out in Fall 2023, includes comprehensive training for hearing care professionals.

Hearing Health, Cognitive Health and Overall Well-Being

Phonak acknowledges the potential link between hearing loss and cognitive decline, emphasizing its broader impact on overall well-being. While hearing aids cannot be seen as a complete solution, Phonak is committed to fostering social engagement and promoting an active lifestyle through their innovative hearing solutions.

To facilitate this approach, Phonak has developed the ECHHO training program, urging hearing professionals to incorporate cognitive health into their audiological counseling. The program includes:

  • Latest research and evidence about hearing intervention’s impact on cognitive well-being
  • The relationship between hearing loss and cognition
  • Audiological best practices for integrating cognition into the clinical conversation
  • Working with clients with or exhibiting signs of cognitive decline or dementia

Angela Pelosi, Phonak’s Senior Director Audiology, acknowledged the significant influence of hearing health on cognitive well-being.

“At Phonak, we recognize the profound impact that hearing health can have on cognitive well-being. We believe that by proactively addressing hearing loss and promoting healthy living, we can help mitigate the risk of cognitive decline and positively impact the overall well-being of individuals. The ECHHO program represents our dedication to advancing the field of holistic hearing care and underscores our commitment to providing life-changing solutions for our clients.”

–Angela Pelosi, Senior Director Audiology at Phonak

phonak echho program

Studies Continue to Reinforce Benefits of Hearing Loss Treatment

Today, new results have been released from two studies which provide additional evidence supporting the potential benefits of hearing intervention including hearing aids in preserving cognitive function over time.

The ACHIEVE and ENHANCE studies incorporate longitudinal observations, best practice audiological management, controlled hearing interventions, and comprehensive cognitive assessments to provide more insight into the causal relationship between hearing loss and cognition.

ACHIEVE (Aging and Cognitive Health Evaluation in Elders)  – Randomized Controlled Trial

Published in The Lancet on July 18

sample size of n=977

three-year follow-up

Key findings:

–        In older adults at increased risk for cognitive decline, hearing intervention slowed down loss of thinking and memory abilities by 48% over 3 years.

–        Specifically with memory, participants in the heart health study group who received the hearing intervention, on average, had no declines in memory over the 3-year period compared to a decrease in memory seen in participants who received the control intervention.

–        Treating hearing loss in older adults at increased risk for cognitive decline slows down loss of thinking and memory abilities

ENHANCE (Evaluation of Hearing Aids and Cognitive Effects) – Prospective Cohort Study

sample size of n=127

three-year follow-up

Key findings:

–        Comparatively, cognition at 3-year follow-up was stable overall for hearing aid users but declined for the non-hearing aid user group

–        Treatment of hearing loss with hearing aids may delay cognitive decline

–        Referral to hearing screening and rehabilitation may assist with delaying/minimizing cognitive decline in older adults.

Both studies were supported by Sonova’s research program and an in-kind donation of Phonak hearing aids. Sonova and its brand Phonak have been supporting clinical research for a long time and are committed to further supporting and driving evidence in the field of holistic hearing care.

For more information about Phonak and the ECHHO program, please visit Phonak website.


Source: Phonak

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