Hearing Loss in Adults Linked to Worsening Cognition 

Pavankumar Kamat

Disclosures

March 10, 2022

Takeaway

  • Hearing loss was associated with a higher risk of incident mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and accelerated cognitive decline in cognitively healthy adults.

  • The use of hearing aids was linked to a lower risk of incident MCI and rates of cognitive decline.

Why This Matters

  • Findings suggest that the use of hearing aids may help mitigate cognitive decline associated with hearing loss, providing an actionable strategy to reduce the incidence of MCI.

Study Design

  • An observational cohort study included 4358 participants without cognitive impairment (age, ≥40 years).

  • The association of self-reported hearing loss and hearing aid use with cognitive decline and MCI progression was evaluated.

  • Funding: Grants from Alzheimer's Research UK, Dementias Platform UK, and others.

Key Results

  • Participants with hearing loss vs those with normal hearing had an increased risk of MCI (standardised HR 2.58; 95% CI 1.73 to 3.84; P<0.001) and an accelerated rate of cognitive decline (P=0.004).

  • The use of hearing aids was associated with a lower risk of healthy-to-MCI conversion (standardised HR 0.47; 95% CI 0.29 to 0.74; P=0.001).

  • No significant differences were observed in the risk of incident MCI between participants with normal hearing and those with hearing loss with reported use of hearing aids (standardised HR 0.86; 95% CI 0.56 to 1.34; P=0.51).

Limitations

  • Observational design.

  • Self-reported measures of hearing loss and hearing aid use.

Bucholc M, Bauermeister S, Kaur D, McClean PL, Todd S. The impact of hearing impairment and hearing aid use on progression to mild cognitive impairment in cognitively healthy adults: An observational cohort study. Alzheimers Dement (N Y). 2022;8(1):e12248. doi: 10.1002/trc2.12248. PMID: 35229022 View Full Text.

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