Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health
Loss Signals Faster Cognitive Decline, Impairment for Senior Citizens
hearing loss indicated a 30% to 40% accelerated rate of cognitive
decline and 24% increased risk for cognitive impairment
2013 Hearing loss in older people appears to signal accelerated
cognitive decline and impairment in a study of men and women with an
average age of 77. The report is published Online First by JAMA
Internal Medicine, a JAMA Network publication.
prevalence of dementia is projected to double every 20 years because of
the worlds aging 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
Note: A study reported in 2011 also connected hearing loss to
dementia - click to
results demonstrate that hearing loss is independently associated with
accelerated cognitive decline and incident cognitive impairment in
community-dwelling older adults, the authors comment.
Lin, M.D., Ph.D., 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 seniors with baseline hearing loss had annual rates of decline
in test scores that measured global and executive function that were 41
percent and 32 percent greater, respectively, than those among
individuals with normal hearing.
to those individuals with normal hearing, individuals with hearing loss
at baseline had a 24 percent increased risk for incident cognitive
impairment, according to the study results.
magnitude of these associations is clinically significant, with
individuals having hearing loss demonstrating a 30 percent to 40 percent
accelerated rate of cognitive decline and a 24 percent increased risk
for incident cognitive impairment during a six-year period compared with
individuals having normal hearing.
authors suggest that, on average, older people 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.
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.
for the study included contracts from the National Institute on Aging,
The Johns Hopkins Older Americans Independence Center and by grants from
the National Institute of Nursing Research, the National Institute on
Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and a Triological
Society/American College of Surgeons Clinician Scientist Award
Letter: Prevalence of Hearing, Vision Impairment in the United States
related research letter that analyzed data from the 1999-2006 cycles of
the National Health and Nutritional Examination Surveys (NHANES),
researchers estimated that approximately 1.5 million Americans 20 years
or older had dual sensory impairment (DSI) in hearing and vision loss,
with nearly all the affected individuals being older adults. For
individuals younger than 70 years old, the prevalence of DSI was less
than 1 percent but among individuals 80 years or older, 11.3 percent had
DSI and 19 percent were free of any sensory impairment.
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