advertisement

Hearing management

Updated 04 December 2017

Hearing loss tied to cognitive decline

Hearing loss appears to be associated with accelerated cognitive decline and cognitive impairment in a study of older adults.

0

Hearing loss appears to be associated with accelerated cognitive decline and cognitive impairment in a study of older adults, according to a report published Online First by JAMA Internal Medicine, a JAMA Network publication.

The prevalence of dementia is projected to double every 20 years because of the world's ageing population so identifying the factors and understanding the pathways that lead to cognitive decline and dementia in older adults is a public health priority, the authors write in the study background.

Frank R Lin, MD, PhD, of The Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health, Baltimore, studied 1 984 older adults (average age about 77 years) enrolled in a prospective observational study that began in 1997-1998.

A total of 1 162 individuals with baseline hearing loss had annual rates of decline in test scores that measured global and executive function that were 41% and 32% greater, respectively, than those among individuals with normal hearing. Compared to those individuals with normal hearing, individuals with hearing loss at baseline had a 24% increased risk for incident cognitive impairment, according to the study results.

Results shown but further research needed

"Our results demonstrate that hearing loss is independently associated with accelerated cognitive decline and incident cognitive impairment in community-dwelling older adults," the authors comment.

"The magnitude of these associations is clinically significant, with individuals having hearing loss demonstrating a 30% to 40% accelerated rate of cognitive decline and a 24% increased risk for incident cognitive impairment during a six-year period compared with individuals having normal hearing."

The authors suggest that, on average, individuals with hearing loss would require 7.7 years to decline by five points on the 3MS (the Modified Mini-Mental State Examination, a commonly accepted level of change indicative of cognitive impairment) compared with 10.9 years in individuals with normal hearing.

"In conclusion, our results suggest that hearing loss is associated with accelerated cognitive decline and incident cognitive impairment in older adults. Further research is needed to investigate what the mechanistic basis of this observed association is and whether such pathways would be amendable to hearing rehabilitative interventions," the study concludes.

(EurekAlert, January 2013)

Read More:

Painkillers linked to hearing loss in women

Diabetes linked to hearing loss

 

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Hearing Expert

Dr Kara Hoffman graduated from UCT in 2004, thereafter she completed her year of community service in Durban. In 2010 she completed her Masters Degree in Paediatric Aural Rehabilitation from UKZN. In 2016, she became a Doctor of Audiology through the University of Arizona (ATSU). Dr Hoffman and her partner Lauren Thompson opened a fully diagnostic audiology practice called Thompson & Hoffman Audiology Inc. In 2011 with world-class technology and equipment to be able to offer the broad public all hearing-related services including hearing testing for adults and babies, vestibular (balance) assessments and rehabilitation, industrial audiology, hearing devices, central auditory processing assessments for school-aged children, school screening, neonatal hearing screening programmes at Alberlito and Parklands Hospital, cochlear implants and other implantable devices, medicolegal assessments and advanced electroacoustic assessments of hearing. Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. are based at Alberlito Hospital in Ballito, St Augustines Hospital in Durban and at 345 Essenwood Road, Musgrave. The practices are all wheelchair friendly. There are three audiologists that practice from Thompson & Hoffman – including Dr Kara Hoffman, Lauren Thompson & Minette Lister. The practice boasts professional, highly qualified, and extensive diagnostic services where all your hearing healthcare needs can be met. The additional licensing in vestibular assessment and rehabilitation, paediatric rehabilitation and cochlear implantation places this practice in one of the top specialist audiological positions in South Africa, with a wealth of experience in all clinical areas of audiology and is a very well respected and sought-after practice.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules