In a recent study with results published in mid-July in the journal Clinical Otolaryngology, researchers working in Australia have provided new evidence suggesting that there is a significant relationship between age-related hearing loss (ARHL) and both cognition and psychological status.
The team of researchers, working at the Ear Science Institute Australia and other organizations in Western Australia, carried out their study including a total of 119 participants. They enrolled 54 male patients (mean age = 66 years) and 65 female patients (mean age = 61 years). Previous studies have, according to the authors, mainly used verbally loaded cognitive measures to study the association and these may be affected by hearing loss. To avoid this type of bias related to hearing loss, they used a battery of non-auditory cognitive tests along with a depression, anxiety and stress scale.
Results showed that hearing thresholds were significantly associated with working memory, paired associative learning scores, as well as depression, anxiety, and stress scores. The authors highlight the importance of non-verbal cognitive tests, especially in patients who have more severe degrees of hearing loss.
Source: Jayakody DMP, et al. A novel study on association between untreated hearing loss and cognitive functions of older adults: Baseline non-verbal cognitive assessment results. Clinical Otolaryngology. 2017 Jul 15.