About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Hearing Loss in Old Age Linked to Cognitive Decline

by Mohamed Fathima S on February 13, 2019 at 11:41 AM
Font : A-A+

Hearing Loss in Old Age Linked to Cognitive Decline

When a person ages, he/she would suffer from hearing loss. Hearing impairment is associated with accelerated cognitive decline, finds a new study. The research also shows that the impact of mild hearing loss leading to a decrease in cognition could be lessened with higher education.

The findings are published in the February 12, 2019 issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Series A Medical Sciences.

Advertisement


Hearing impairment is a common consequence of advancing age. Almost three-quarters of U.S. adults age 70 and older suffer from some degree of hearing loss. One unanswered question has been to what degree hearing impairment intersects with and influences age-related cognitive decline.

A team of scientists, led by senior author Linda K. McEvoy, PhD, professor in the departments of Radiology and Family Medicine and Public Health, tracked 1,164 participants (mean age 73.5 years, 64 percent women) in the longitudinal Rancho Bernardo Study of Healthy Aging for up to 24 years. All had undergone assessments for hearing acuity and cognitive function between the years 1992 to 1996 and had up to five subsequent cognitive assessments at approximately four-year intervals. None used a hearing aid.
Advertisement

The researchers found that almost half of the participants had mild hearing impairment, with 16.8 percent suffering moderate-to-severe hearing loss. Those with more serious hearing impairment showed worse performance at the initial visit on a pair of commonly used cognitive assessment tests: the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) and the Trail-Making Test, Part B. Hearing impairment was associated with greater decline in performance on these tests over time, both for those with mild hearing impairment and those with more severe hearing impairment.

However, the association of mild hearing impairment with rate of cognitive decline was modified by education. Mild hearing impairment was associated with steeper decline among study participants without a college education, but not among those with higher education. Moderate-to-severe hearing impairment was associated with steeper MMSE decline regardless of education level.

"We surmise that higher education may provide sufficient cognitive reserve to counter the effects of mild hearing loss, but not enough to overcome effects of more severe hearing impairment," said McEvoy.

Degree of social engagement did not affect the association of hearing impairment with cognitive decline. "This was a somewhat unexpected finding" said first author Ali Alattar. "Others have postulated that cognitive deficits related to hearing impairment may arise from social isolation, but in our study, participants who had hearing impairment were as socially engaged as those without hearing loss."

The findings, said the authors, emphasize the need for physicians to be aware that older patients with hearing impairments are at greater risk for cognitive decline. They also emphasized the importance of preventing hearing loss at all ages, since hearing impairment is rarely reversible. One important way to protect hearing, they said, is to minimize loud noise exposure since this is the largest modifiable risk factor for hearing impairment.



Source: Newswise
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Insulin Resistance Doubles the Risk of Major Depressive Disorder
Emotional Healing
Psychosis Risk Related to Cat Parasite
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Tinnitus Presbycusis Senior Health Facts Acoustic Neuroma Meniere’s Disease Hearing Aids Hearing Tests in Newborns Hearing Loss Usher Syndrome Alport Syndrome 

Recommended Reading
Otosclerosis
Otosclerosis is an abnormal remodeling of bone near the middle ear that can cause hearing ......
Hearing Loss Symptom Evaluation
Hearing loss is a common problem that could occur in childhood or often develops with age or is ......
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Noise-induced hearing loss is the hearing impairment that occurs due to noise exposure. ......
Acoustic Neuroma
Acoustic neuroma is a benign intercranial tumor involving the myelin-forming Schwann cells of the ...
Alport Syndrome
Hereditary Nephritis, more commonly known as Alport Syndrome, is a genetic condition that is charact...
Hearing Aids
Hearing aid is an electronic device that helps people with hearing loss to hear more and communicate...
Hearing Tests in Newborns
Ideally, screening tests for hearing loss should be conducted before the infant is 1 month of age....
Meniere’s Disease
Meniere’s disease is a condition of unknown cause in which the patient experiences symptoms of verti...
Presbycusis
Presbycusis (age related hearing loss) is the gradual loss of hearing that occurs as people get olde...
Tinnitus
Tinnitus is the perception of ringing, hissing, or other sound within the ears when no corresponding...
Usher Syndrome
Usher syndrome is a rare genetic disease which is the leading cause of deaf-blindness in humans....

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use