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Clinical Study

Studying Multiple Outcomes after Aural Rehabilitative Treatment Study I

What is the SMART Study? 
Studying Multiple Outcomes after Aural Rehabilitative Treatment (SMART) is a research study being done to learn how the use of hearing aids and cochlear implants impacts the lives of adults with hearing loss.

Hearing loss is associated with poorer cognitive functioning and the risk of developing dementia.1

In the U.S., nearly 2/3 of the population aged 70 years and older has hearing loss.2

Why is the SMART Study Important?
Hearing loss is very common in older adults, but less than 1 in 5 adults with hearing loss obtain any form of treatment. Recent research has shown that hearing loss can negatively impact a person’s thinking abilities, quality of life, and may increase a person’s risk of developing dementia.

The goal of the SMART study is to investigate whether using a hearing aid or cochlear implant can improve a person’s memory and learning abilities, relationships with family and friends, and quality of life. Results from this study will inform strategies for hearing aid and cochlear implant delivery and future clinical trials of hearing loss interventions.

What do SMART Study participants have to do?
If you agree to be in this study, we will test your memory and thinking abilities before and after you obtain your hearing aid or cochlear implant. You will also complete surveys that will ask about your communication skills, how often you see friends and family, and your quality of life.

When will the study visits take place?
This study will involve 3 visits:

  • Before you obtain your hearing aid or cochlear implant
  • 6 months after you start using your hearing aid or cochlear implant
  • 12 months after your start using your hearing aid or cochlear implant

Whenever possible, we will schedule these study visits to coincide with one of your other clinical appointments

person wearing a hearing aid

How long is each study visit?
Each study visit will last approximately 1.5 hours.

Where will the study be located?
All study visits will take place at the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center and the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Who can participate?
Adults who meet the following criteria are eligible for the SMART Study:

  • Age 50 years or older
  • English-speaking
  • Primary method of communication is speech and verbal language
  • Receiving a hearing aid for the first time or with minimal (<1 hr/day) prior use or receiving a first or second cochlear implant

All SMART Study Participants will receive the following:

  • Parking voucher for each visit
  • $10 meal voucher for each visit
  • An additional 1 year extended repair warranty on your hearing aid(s) or cochlear implant upon completion of all study visits
couple with cell phone

If you are interested in participating or learning more about the SMART Study, please contact Yoon Sung, the SMART Study Research Coordinator:

Note: The SMART study will stop enrolling participants after December 31, 2013.

Phone: 410.614.9825
Fax: 443.683.8310
Johns Hopkins University
Department of Otolaryngology- HNS
601 N Caroline Street, JHOC 6030B
Baltimore, MD 21287

Principal Investigator
Frank R. Lin M.D., Ph.D.

Johns Hopkins IRB # NA_00045877

1. Lin FR, Metter EJ, O’Brien RJ, Resnick SM, Zonderman AB, Ferrucci L. Hearing loss and incident dementia. Arch Neurol. 2011;68(2):214-220.

2. Lin FR, Thorpe R, Gordon-Salant S, Ferrucci L. Hearing loss prevalence and risk factors among older adults in the united states. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. 2011;66(5):582-590.