Neurol Sci. 2023 Oct 21. doi: 10.1007/s10072-023-07143-7. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: As Hearing loss and dementia affect people with the same profile, several epidemiological studies have evaluated their relationship. However, the link between age-related hearing loss and Alzheimer’s disease is still unclear.
METHODS: We selected subjects with no history of exposure to loud noises, blasts, head trauma with hearing loss, or sudden sensorineural hearing loss from a cohort intended to study preclinical phases of Alzheimer’s disease. Participants are volunteers over 55 years without cognitive impairment. We correlated the results of an objective auditory evaluation with brain amyloid and p-tau181 levels and with the outcomes of a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment.
RESULTS: Fifty-five subjects at different stages of the Alzheimer’s disease continuum were evaluated. There were no statistically significant correlations between amyloid-β and p-tau levels and any of the objective auditory measures. A weak but significant correlation was found between amyloid-β values and the Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Elderly. The neuropsychological domains more correlated to hearing loss were executive function and processing speed.
DISCUSSION: Age-related hearing loss is not linked to any pathological markers of Alzheimer’s disease nor to neuropsychological domains typically affected in this disease. The Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Elderly has an important component of subjectivity and further studies are needed to explore its relationship with amyloid-β levels.