The International Tinnitus Journal

The International Tinnitus Journal

Official Journal of the Neurootological and Equilibriometric Society
Official Journal of the Brazil Federal District Otorhinolaryngologist Society

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ISSN: 0946-5448

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Hearing loss and Alzheimer?s disease: A Review

Author(s): Massimo Ralli, Antonio Gilardi, Arianna Di Stadio, Cinzia Severini, Antonio Greco, Marco de Vincentiis,Francesco Salzano

Many studies have focused on the relationship between hearing loss and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). The mechanisms and causal relationship of this association are still partially unknown, and several theories have been proposed. The most accredited hypothesis is that peripheral hearing deprivation may lead to social isolation and subsequently to dementia. Another hypothesis supports the role of hearing loss on cortical processing, with an increased assignment of cognitive resources to auditory processing rather than to other cognitive processes; other theories suggest changes in the brain structure following reduced peripheral auditory stimulation, or a common cause to both conditions. These preliminary findings clearly delineate the importance of further research aimed at investigating hearing impairment in AD, to a) allow early detection of people with predisposition to AD, b) improve the quality of life in AD patients with hearing loss and c) possibly prevent the progression of the disease treating the hearing impairment. In this review paper, the authors discuss current evidence on the association between hearing impairment and dementia, the identification of peripheral and central auditory dysfunction in at-risk patients as a potential early indicator of incipient AD, and the clinical aspects and the management of patients with AD and hearing loss

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