Hearing loss and dementia in older adults: A narrative review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The prevalence of hearing loss is high among older adults; globally, 65% of adults over 60 years have hearing loss. Over the past decade, evidence from epidemiologic studies has linked hearing loss to nearly two times greater risk of dementia. The hypothesized mechanistic pathways through which hearing loss could contribute to increased dementia risk include the effects of hearing on greater cognitive load, changes in brain structure and function, and decreased social engagement. These mechanistic pathways may be modified by management of hearing loss using existing intervention (eg, hearing aids). Hearing treatment may be an effective intervention for slowing cognitive decline in some older adults. In this review, we update existing reviews of the current epidemiologic research on the association between hearing loss and dementia risk and discuss hypothesized mechanisms of this association. We also discuss management of hearing loss as a potential intervention for slowing cognitive decline and reducing dementia risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-258
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Chinese Medical Association
Volume87
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2024

Keywords

  • Cognition
  • Dementia
  • Epidemiology
  • Hearing aids
  • Hearing loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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