- Middle-aged and older adults whose family members or friends reported that they had hearing difficulties substantially interfering with daily activities were more likely to receive a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia.
Why this matters
- Relative ease of ascertaining informant assessment of hearing.
- Hearing difficulties are often amenable to intervention.
- Informant-reported hearing difficulties were associated with higher risks for:
- MCI among cognitively unimpaired participants at baseline (adjusted HR, 1.29; P=.002).
- Dementia among cognitively unimpaired participants at baseline (adjusted HR, 1.72; P=.003).
- Dementia among participants without dementia at baseline (adjusted HR, 1.39; P=.011).
- Among participants with MCI at baseline, global cognition z-scores declined more rapidly in those having informant-reported hearing difficulties (estimated annualized difference, −0.047; P=.006).
- Prospective cohort study of 4812 dementia-free participants aged 50-89 years enrolled in Mayo Clinic Study of Aging (mean age, 73.7 years).
- Participant-selected informant (usually spouse, child, other family member) reported on participant’s hearing status at baseline and every 15 months.
- Main outcomes: MCI (mean follow-up, 5.1 years), dementia (mean follow-up, 5.4 years).
- Funding: National Institutes of Health; GHR Foundation; others.
- Residual, unmeasured confounding.
- Causality is unknown.