Studies for Hearing Impairment

Treating Hearing Loss to Improve Mood and Cognition in Older AdultsĀ 

The purpose of this study is to determine whether treating hearing loss is helpful for depression over and above the known effects of antidepressants. Age-related hearing loss (ARHL) is the third most common health condition affecting older adults after heart disease and arthritis and is the fifth leading cause of years lived with disability worldwide. Many hearing-impaired older adults avoid or withdraw from social contexts in which background noise will make it difficult to communicate, resulting in social isolation and reduced communication with family and friends. Social isolation and loneliness have been linked to numerous adverse physical and mental health outcomes, including dementia, depression, and mortality, and they may also lead to declining physical activity and the development of the syndrome of frailty.

In this research study, you will be fitted with hearing aids that may be fully tuned to improve your hearing (full dose) or may be only partially tuned and not likely to substantially improve your hearing (low dose). You will receive a free hearing aid that will be at full dose at the end of the 12-week study. You will also receive treatment for depression with an FDA approved medication called escitalopram (Lexapro) or duloxetine (Cymbalta). Escitalopram is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) medication, and duloxetine is a Selective Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor (SSNRI) that both appear to help with symptoms of depression.

Study Activities

  • Filling out forms
  • Blood samples
  • Audiology Referral
  • MRI
  • Neuropsychological Testing


  • Ages eligible; 60 years and older
  • Genders eligible: All
  • Hearing loss
  • This study is not recruiting healthy volunteers

For more information, please call Carlen Zhu at (646) 774-8005.