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Otol Neurotol. 2014 Jun;35(5):775-81. doi: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000000313.

Relationship of hearing loss and dementia: a prospective, population-based study.

Author information

  • 1*Division of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Utah, Salt Lake City; †Center for Epidemiologic Studies, ‡Department of Family Consumer and Human Development, §Department of Psychology, Utah State University, Logan; and ∥Center for Alzheimer's Care, Imaging and Research, Department of Neurology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether baseline hearing loss increases cognitive decline and risk for all-cause dementia in a population of elderly individuals.

STUDY DESIGN:

Longitudinal cohort study.

SETTING:

Community-based, outpatient.

PATIENTS:

Men and women aged 65 years or older without dementia at baseline.

INTERVENTION(S):

All subjects completed the Modified Mini-Mental Status Exam (3MS-R) at baseline and over 3 triennial follow-up visits. Hearing loss (HL) at baseline was based on observation of hearing difficulties during testing or interview. Incident dementia was determined by clinical assessment and expert consensus.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

Dementia and 3MS-R score.

RESULTS:

At baseline, 4,463 subjects were without dementia, 836 of whom had HL. Of those with HL, 16.3% developed dementia, compared with 12.1% of those without HL (p < 0.001). Mean time to dementia was 10.3 years in the HL group versus 11.9 years for non-HL (log rank test p < 0.001). In Cox regression analyses controlling for sex, presence of APOE- [Latin Small Letter Open E]4 allele, education, and baseline age, and cardiovascular risk factors, HL was an independent predictor of developing dementia (hazard ratio = 1.27, p = 0.026 [95% CI, 1.03-1.56]). Linear mixed models controlling for similar covariates showed HL was associated with faster decline on the 3MS-R, at a rate of 0.26 points/year worse than those without HL.

CONCLUSION:

Elderly individuals with HL have an increased rate of developing dementia and more rapid decline on 3MS-R scores than their nonhearing impaired counterparts. These findings suggest that hearing impairment may be a marker for cognitive dysfunction in adults age 65 years and older.

PMID:
24662628
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC4024067
Free PMC Article
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