Improving the lives of people living with dementia

Impact: Health and wellbeing, Policy


There are 850,000 people living with dementia (PwD) in the UK, and around the world, 90% of PwD (50 million people) have some degree of hearing loss. This often goes unrecognised and untreated, largely due to functional/communication difficulties caused by dementia. We have developed innovative approaches, diagnostics, and pioneering technology for the prevention and treatment of hearing problems. Building on this research, we led an international multidisciplinary taskforce of healthcare professionals, academics, PwD, and their carers. Using a combination of existing evidence from literature reviews, professional consortia, and a series of patient and public involvement stakeholder sessions, the taskforce critically evaluated the evidence, outputs, and feedback, to develop evidence-based best practice recommendations for identifying and supporting sensory needs of PwD. Our recommendations provide practical options for implementation, including optimising the living environment for PwD and for people with sensory impairment, to foster safety and independence. These are the first international clinical guidelines for clinicians involved in the diagnosis, management, and care of hearing and vision impairment for PwD. Despite only recent publication, North West memory and audiology services are expanding screening processes for hearing loss and cognitive impairment respectively, and colleagues in Australia have developed a working group to implement the recommendations.
Impact date2022
Category of impactHealth and wellbeing, Policy
Impact levelEngagement