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Dementia, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and Alzheimer’s Disease

September 18, 2015 In the News

Pichora-Fuller reports that Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is progressive, degenerative, and is the most common form of dementia. She reports for those older than age 70 diagnosed with AD, AD is usually fatal within 10 years. Pichora-Fuller notes that dementia is more common in people with hearing loss, than in those with normal hearing. Indeed, the risk of developing dementia increases dramatically (two to five times greater) for those with hearing loss. Lin (2011a and 2011b) reported that for every 10 dB of hearing loss greater than 25 HL, the risk of developing dementia increases by 10 percent. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is often, although not always, part of a continuum that may progress to AD. Pichora-Fuller reports that the rate of conversion (to AD) for the general population is about 1 to 2 percent, yet for people with MCI the conversion rate approximates 12 to 15 percent annually. However, after six years with MCI, the conversion rate may be 80 percent.

She reports that a healthy lifestyle, such as “use it or lose it” (with regard to social, physical, or mental) has been supported by evidence and may help protect aged adults from cognitive decline. Additionally social engagement, a Mediterranean–type diet, bilingualism, and musicianship offer potential protection against cognitive decline. Pichora-Fuller reports that “surprisingly little is known about audiological best practice for treating older adults who have dual hearing and cognitive impairments….” 

For More Information, References, and Recommendations

Beck DL. (2015) The state of the art: Hearing impairment, cognitive decline, and amplification. Hearing Review 22(9):14.

Beck DL, Edwards B, Pichora-Fuller MK. (2011) Exploring the maze of the cognition-audition connection. Hearing Journal 64(10):21-24.

Beck DL, Edwards B, Humes LE, Lemke U, Lunner T, Lin FR, Pichora-Fuller MK. (2012) Expert roundtable: issues in audition, cognition, and amplification. Hearing Review.

Deal JA, Sharrett AR, Albert MS, Coresh J, Mosley TH, Knopman D, Wruck LM, Lin FR. (2015) Hearing impairment and cognitive decline: a pilot Study conducted within the atherosclerosis risk in communities neurocognitive study Am. J. Epidemiol 81(9):680-690.

Lin FR, Ferrucci L, Metter EJ, An Y, Zonderman AB, Resnick SM. (2011a) Hearing loss and cognition in the Baltimore longitudinal study of aging. Neuropsychology 25:763-770.

Lin FR, Metter EJ, O’Brien RJ, Resnick SM, Zonderman A, Ferrcui L. (2011b) Hearing Loss and Incident Dementia. Archives of Neurology 68:214-220.

Murman DL. (2015) The impact of age on cognition. Seminars in Hearing 36(3):111-121.

Mosnier I, Bebear J, Marx M, et al. Improvement of Cognitive Function After Cochlear Implantation in Elderly Patients. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg.

Pichora-Fuller M. (2015) Cognitive decline and hearing health care for older adults. American Journal of Audiology 24:108-111.

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