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Hearing Loss Linked to Subjective Cognitive Function Decline

Findings seen in older men; risk for SCF decline also up for men with severe hearing loss using hearing aids

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FRIDAY, Feb. 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- For older men, hearing loss is associated with subjective cognitive function (SCF) decline, according to a study published online Jan. 29 in Alzheimer's & Dementia.

Sharon G. Curhan, M.D., from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted a longitudinal study from 2008 to 2016 involving 10,107 men aged 62 years or older who reported their hearing status in 2006 and had no subjective cognitive concerns in 2008. A six-item questionnaire was used to assess change in SCF scores. New report of at least one SCF concern during follow-up defined subjective decline.

The researchers found that hearing loss correlated with an increased risk for decline in SCF. Among men with mild, moderate, and severe hearing loss (no hearing aids) compared with those with no hearing loss, the multivariable-adjusted relative risk of incident SCF decline was 1.30, 1.42, and 1.54, respectively. The multivariable adjusted relative risk for men with severe hearing loss who used hearing aids was 1.37.

"Our findings show that hearing loss is associated with new onset of subjective cognitive concerns which may be indicative of early stage changes in cognition," Curhan said in a statement. "These findings may help identify individuals at greater risk of cognitive decline."

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