Listen Care-fully: Healthcare Design for Listening Effort and Cognitive Function


For today’s ageing population, both the number of people living with hearing loss and dementia is projected to increase, and recent research suggests that hearing loss is the highest modifiable risk factor for dementia in later stages of life (Livingston et al., 2017). According to a seminal report in the Lancet, hearing impairment accounts for 9% of the predictive power of all risk factors associated with the development of dementia. Research also suggests a potential pathway between hearing and cognitive decline, with listening effort, working memory and cognitive load as principal mediators.

Project objectives

This project aims to determine whether increased listening effort is associated with cognitive function in healthy individuals and those affected by cognitive impairment. The project will use pupillometry, the measurement of pupil dilation, to determine listening effort and explore the potential improvement with the use of hearing aids in individuals both with and without cognitive impairment. Furthermore, this project will investigate how to facilitate the integration of this test together with current dementia and hearing care management to leverage this predictive power at point-of-care.

This project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between DTU, Oticon’s Eriksholm Research Center (ERH), The Danish Dementia Research Centre – Nationalt Videnscenter for Demens (VDM), the Municipality of Copenhagen (MOC) and the Ear Science Institute (ESI - Perth, Australia).

Central research questions

  • Is there an associated between increased listening effort and cognitive performance?
  • Can hearing aids reduce listening effort in both healthy individuals and those experiencing cognitive impairment?
  • Does reduced listening effort have an impact on cognitive performance?
  • If these associations exist, how can we adapt hearing-integrated healthcare technology into current dementia and hearing care practices?


Listen Care-fully is funded by DTU, CACHET and the William Demant Foundation.


Alix Feldman
PhD student
DTU Management
+45 45 25 60 26


Anja Maier
Professor, Deputy Head of Division, Head of Section
DTU Management
+45 45 25 60 45


François Patou
DTU Management
+45 45 25 47 08


Gunhild Waldemar
+45 26 30 25 80
20 JUNE 2021