J Clin Neurol.  2021 Apr;17(2):290-299. 10.3988/jcn.2021.17.2.290.

Relationship between Hearing Loss and Dementia Differs According to the Underlying Mechanism

  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Graduate school of Medical Science, Brain Korea 21 Project, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Departments of Neurology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Departments of Nuclear Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Background and Purpose
The associations between hearing loss (HL) and the mechanisms underlying cognitive impairment (CI) remain unclear. We evaluated the effects of clinical factors, vascular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) markers, and CI mechanisms on HL.
In total, 112 patients with CI (59% demented) and subjective HL prospectively underwent MRI, amyloid positron-emission tomography (PET), hearing evaluations, and neuropsychological tests including a language comprehension test. Patients were categorized into pure-Alzheimer’s disease-related CI (ADCI), pure-Lewy-body disease-related CI (LBCI), mixed-ADCI/LBCI, and non-ADCI/LBCI groups based on clinical features and PET biomarkers.
The risk of peripheral HL [defined as a pure-tone average (PTA) threshold >40 dB] was higher in the pure-LBCI group than in the pure-ADCI and mixed-ADCI/LBCI groups, and lower in the presence of ADCI. The non-ADCI/LBCI group had the most-severe vascular MRI markers and showed a higher risk of peripheral HL than did the pure-ADCI and mixed-ADCI/LBCI groups. While the pure-LBCI group had a higher risk of comprehension dysfunction than the pure-ADCI group regardless of the PTA and the score on the Korean version of the Mini Mental State Examination (K-MMSE), those in the pure-LBCI group even with a better K-MMSE score had a risk of comprehension dysfunction comparable to that in the mixed-ADCI/LBCI group due to a worse PTA.
Peripheral HL could be associated with the absence of significant β-amyloid deposition in patients with CI and characteristic of the pure-LBCI and non-ADCI/LBCI groups.


hearing loss; Alzheimer’s disease; Lewy body disease; Parkinson’s disease; vascular dementia; cognitive impairments
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