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Ears and brain – a dream team for hearing well

Hearing loss can impact far more than just our hearing. At Sonova, we want to support people throughout their hearing journey and have recently introduced an app for auditory cognitive training. This app was designed to train the cognitive skills that can be of benefit when people listen and communicate1


Studies have shown that our ears and our brain, hearing and cognition, are closely linked. While our ears pick up auditory signals, our brain gives meaning to what we hear. If people are affected by hearing loss, it gets harder for their brain to put the overall picture together. We can think of it as a puzzle – the more pieces we are missing, the harder it is to see the full picture2.  

Research tells us that adults with hearing loss show greater cognitive effort in challenging listening situations such as loud environments3.        

This means that when someone is affected by hearing loss, it takes more resources for their brain to process and create meaning out of the data it receives from their ears. This additional effort can leave fewer cognitive resources available for other tasks and may result in increased fatigue4.  

Train the brain  

But there’s good news. Like other parts of our body, we can train our brain5. In addition to wearing hearing aids, people with mild or moderate hearing loss can benefit from auditory cognitive training.6,7

This kind of exercise can improve cognitive skills like working memory, attention and auditory perception that are needed to communicate effectively in challenging listening situations.1

At Sonova, we want everyone to be able to enjoy the delight of hearing and live a life without limitations. In working towards this vision, we provide innovative solutions in all areas of hearing care – from audiological services to hearing aids and cochlear implants.  

Getting active with ACT!

Sonova’s Audiological Care business recently introduced the Auditory Cognitive Training (ACT!) app, which is designed to train the cognitive skills that support listening and communication.1  

So far, ACT! has been rolled out in Canada, the Netherlands and Austria and has received great reviews, with two out of three app users saying that it was an important part of their hearing aid purchase. The app will be launched in three more countries by the end of 2022.


1 Lemke, U., & Scherpiet, S. (2015). Oral communication in individuals with hearing impairment—considerations regarding attentional, cognitive and social resources. Frontiers in psychology, 6, 998.

2 Kiessling, J., et al., Candidature for and delivery of audiological services: special needs of older people. International Journal of Audiology, 2003. 42 Suppl 2: p. 92-101.

3 World Health Organization. (‎2021)‎. World report on hearing. World Health Organization. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO

4 Lemke, U., & Besser, J. (2016). Cognitive load and listening effort: Concepts and age-related considerations. Ear and Hearing, 37, 77S-84S.

5 Shah, T. M., Weinborn, M., Verdile, G., Sohrabi, H. R., & Martins, R. N. (2017). Enhancing cognitive functioning in healthy older adults: a systematic review of the clinical significance of commercially available computerized cognitive training in preventing cognitive decline. Neuropsychology Review, 27(1), 62-80.

6 Stropahl, M., Besser, J., & Launer, S. (2020). Auditory training supports auditory rehabilitation: a state-of-the-art review. Ear and hearing41(4), 697-704

7 Lawrence, B. J., Jayakody, D. M. P., Henshaw, H., Ferguson, M. A., Eikelboom, R. H., Loftus, A. M., & Friedland, P. L. (2018). Auditory and Cognitive Training for Cognition in Adults With Hearing Loss: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Trends in Hearing, 22, 2331216518792096. doi:10.1177/2331216518792096