About Cognitive Screening with Cognivue

July 10, 2022

About Cognitive Screening with Cognivue

Hearing loss is the leading theoretically modifiable risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia later in life. According to a study conducted by Dr. Frank Lin, an otolaryngology professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, dementia increases as the severity of an untreated hearing loss increases, with a fivefold increased risk of dementia if the untreated hearing loss is severe. 

Based on this evidence, it's evident that your hearing loss may be affecting your cognitive performance. Most individuals are unaware, however, that not only may hearing loss affect cognitive performance, but that cognitive function can also affect hearing.

Hearing necessitates two different types of processing. Bottom-up processing, in which your cochlea sends information up to your brain. Top-down processing, where the brain sends information down to your cochlea. This top-down processing necessitates cognitive work, and elements like attention, listening effort, and memory all impact your capacity to hear, particularly in complex listening scenarios.

Because hearing loss, cognitive decline, and dementia are all so tightly linked at this stage, you could argue that having an audiologist check your cognitive abilities at the same time as they test your hearing makes a lot of sense.

That's why I use the Cognivue Thrive system to check the cognitive abilities of my patients. 

How does the Cognivue Thrive system work?

The Cognivue Thrive system employs FDA-approved technology similar to a neurologists' assessment of cognitive function. We can assess three aspects of cognitive performance using the five-minute self-administered computerized screening:

  • Memory: Your ability to store and recall information when required.
  • Visuospatial: Your capacity to receive and understand visual information about yourself and your surroundings.
  • Executive function: is your ability to focus and solve problems.

It can also evaluate two speed performance parameters:

  • Reaction time: Your ability to physically react to situations. 
  • Processing speed: The time it takes to process a task mentally. 

The only interaction you have with the device is spinning the cogwheel to perform various tasks. You'll be given a score for each of the five domains tested once you've completed the screening.

How Cognivue Cognitive screening helps me when treating hearing loss patients

How does this technology improve the hearing treatment experience?

  • It gives me a better understanding of your hearing loss. A decline in memory scores, as well as other performance areas revealed by the Cognivue Thrive system, might go a long way toward explaining why someone might have more difficulties in a background noise environment than their audiogram suggests.
  • It helps me give better treatment recommendations. These Cognivue Thrive results may lead to extra diagnostic testing by your audiologist, as well as a referral for an assistive listening device to help your hearing aids operate even better in situations where there is a lot of background noise such as a family gathering or a restaurant.
  • I get less biased data. Because the patient self-administers the tests or the computerized program, the Cognivue removes my prejudices as a tester and biases connected with socioeconomic class, education level, and demography.
  • It is sensitive. Even before moderate cognitive impairment, it can detect any kind of cognitive decline.
  • The tests can be repeated. This allows for better monitoring of changes, so I know if there's a change in performance due to a change in cognitive function. 

Now, while all of these things are great, there are a few things you should be aware of when utilizing Cognivue for cognitive screening.

Things to look out for with the Cognivue Screening

  • It is unable to diagnose dementia. The Cognivue is a screening tool; therefore, even if you get red on every domain, it doesn't necessarily mean you have dementia. That means you should be referred back to your primary care physician so that they may arrange for the necessary testing to determine whether or not you have dementia.
  • The jury is still out on whether hearing treatment can be used to quantify improvements in cognitive abilities. There have been anecdotal reports that people who have addressed their hearing loss have experienced an improvement in their Cognivue scores, but this has yet to be scientifically proven. 
  • Results might be used to stoke fear. Some hearing care experts may use the findings of the Cognivue exam to scare you into purchasing hearing aids.

Our audiology practice in Phoenix, Arizona offers Cognitive Screening to people in the Phx metro area. If you are interested in Cognivue screening, contact our practice to schedule an appointment with one of our top-rated audiologists.

If you suspect you may have hearing loss, and do not reside in the Phoenix metro area, I strongly advise you to contact a Cognivue Thrive provider to have your hearing tested, and your cognition screened. Simply go to EarBrain.com and search your local area to view a list of all the Cognivue Thrive providers in your area.

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