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Age-related changes in auditory and cognitive abilities in elderly persons with hearing aids fitted at the initial stages of hearing loss

DOI: 10.4081/audiores.2011.e11

Keywords: age-related changes , auditory abilities , hearing aids.

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Abstract:

In this study, we investigated the relation between the use of hearing aids at the initial stages of hearing loss and age-related changes in the auditory and cognitive abilities of elderly persons. 12 healthy elderly persons participated in an annual auditory and cognitive longitudinal examination for three years. According to their hearing level, they were divided into 3 subgroups - the normal hearing group, the hearing loss without hearing aids group, and the hearing loss with hearing aids group. All the subjects underwent 4 tests: pure-tone audiometry, syllable intelligibility test, dichotic listening test (DLT), and Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R) Short Forms. Comparison between the 3 groups revealed that the hearing loss without hearing aids group showed the lowest scores for the performance tasks, in contrast to the hearing level and intelligibility results. The other groups showed no significant difference in the WAIS-R subtests. This result indicates that prescription of a hearing aid during the early stages of hearing loss is related to the retention of cognitive abilities in such elderly people. However, there were no statistical significant correlations between the auditory and cognitive tasks.

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