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


Dr. Lin’s epidemiologic research established the impact of hearing loss on the risk of cognitive decline, dementia & brain aging in elderly


Frank R. Lin, M.D., Ph.D. is the Director of the Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health and a Professor of Otolaryngology, Medicine, Mental Health, and Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Lin completed his undergraduate degree in biochemistry at Brown University and his medical education, residency in ctolaryngology, and Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins. He completed further otologic fellowship training in Switzerland. Dr. Lin joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins in 2010 and is a practicing otologist with expertise in the medical and surgical management of hearing loss. His epidemiologic research established the impact of hearing loss on the risk of cognitive decline, dementia, and brain aging in older adults and served as the basis of the 2017 Lancet Commission on dementia conclusion that hearing loss was the single largest potentially modifiable risk factor for dementia. He now currently leads the ACHIEVE study which is a $20M NIH-funded randomized trial investigating if treating hearing loss can reduce the risk of cognitive decline in older adults. As the founder and inaugural director of the Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health, Dr. Lin leads a first-in-kind research center resulting from an academic-industry collaboration that is dedicated to training a generation of clinicians and researchers to understand and address the impact of hearing loss on older adults and public health.Dr. Lin has worked extensively with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) to address the need for more accessible and affordable hearing care for adults in the United States. From 2014-2016, Dr. Lin served on sequential NASEM committees investigating this issue and concurrently advised the White House President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) on their report. Recommendations from these groups led to the subsequent introduction and bipartisan passage of the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 which Dr. Lin testified on before Congress. This law overturns 40 years of established regulatory precedent in the U.S. and reflects the direct result of Dr. Lin’s prior research and broader policy work on hearing loss and public health. Dr. Lin currently serves as a member of the Board on Health Sciences Policy at the National Academies.


Should Hearing Aids Be Sold Over-the-Counter?
Wall Street journal

May 01, 2017

At the time, there was little awareness of the impact of hearing loss on health outcomes and the few available hearing aids were not very good or expensive, said Frank Lin, an associate professor of otolaryngology-head & neck surgery at Johns Hopkins University who researches the link between hearing loss and the increased risk of dementia.

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Is It Time For Hearing Aids To Be Sold Over The Counter?

April 24, 2017

The market for over-the-counter hearing aids could be huge. More than 35 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. And for older Americans, not dealing with the problem can have a big impact on age-related cognitive decline, says Dr. Frank Lin, associate professor of otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Lin has done studies looking at the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline.

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Listen Up: Help for Hearing Loss

August 16, 2016

Our guest: Dr. Frank Lin of Johns Hopkins Medicine. His clinical practice is dedicated to the medical and surgical management of hearing problems, and his research focuses on the intersection of hearing loss, gerontology and public health.

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No Hearing Aid? Some Gizmos Offer Alternative to ‘Speak Up!’
New York Times

July 15, 2016

“Some P.S.A.P. companies are very good, founded by former hearing aid executives and engineers,” Dr. Lin said. “The devices you see in Walmart for 40 bucks are terrible.”

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A Push for Less Expensive Hearing Aids
New York Times

March 11, 2016

How can aging ears affect so many other aspects of our health? Dr. Frank Lin, an otolaryngologist and epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University who has led many of these research efforts, points to several possible causes. With diminished hearing, “your brain is constantly having to work harder to process garbled sounds” — a concept called cognitive load — and may have less capacity for other mental tasks.

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Multiple Sensory Impairment Is Associated With Increased Risk of Dementia Among Black and White Older Adults
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci

2019Few studies have examined impairment in multiple senses (multisensory impairment) and risk of dementia in comparison to having a single or no sensory impairment.

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Impact of Hearing Loss on Patient-Provider Communication Among Hospitalized Patients: A Systematic Review
Am J Med Qual

2019Age-related hearing loss is a highly prevalent chronic condition in older adults, but hearing loss is rarely accounted for in patient-provider communication studies. This systematic review synthesizes current evidence on the impact of age-related hearing loss on patient-provider communication in hospitalized older adults.

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Cost-Benefit Analysis of Hearing Care Services: What Is It Worth to Medicare?
J Am Geriatr Soc

2019Hearing care services for older adults with hearing aids are underutilized and are not covered by the Medicare program. Little information exists to the value of hearing care services for older adults with hearing aids. The objective of this analysis is to estimate the potential costs and benefits to the Medicare program of covering hearing care services.

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Translating Public Health Practices: Community-Based Approaches for Addressing Hearing Health Care Disparities
Semin Hear

2019Epidemiologic studies reveal disparities in hearing health care with lower prevalence of hearing aid use among older adults from racial/ethnic minority groups and lower socioeconomic positions. Recent national reports recommend exploring innovative delivery models to increase the accessibility and affordability of hearing health care, particularly for underserved and vulnerable populations.

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Pilot Comparison of Adjustment Protocols of Personal Sound Amplification Products
Semin Hear

2019The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 was signed into law in August 2017 and facilitates the introduction of direct-to-consumer sales of hearing aids for adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. Among many questions surrounding over-the-counter sales is the ability of users to self-fit amplification.

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Area of Expertise


Member, Board on Health Sciences Policy, Health and Medicine Division, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Washington, DC

Member, Scientific Committee, Fondation Pour L’Audition, Paris, France


Johns Hopkins, Bloomberg School of Public Health : Clinical Investigation

Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine : Medicine

Brown University : Biochemistry

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