Informant-reported hearing difficulties are risk factor for MCI, dementia

  • Vassilaki M & al.
  • Age Ageing
  • 22 Aug 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • 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.

Key results

  • 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).

Study design

  • 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.

Limitations

  • Residual, unmeasured confounding.
  • Causality is unknown.