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Associations between auditory & cognitive function (Humes, 2020)

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posted on 25.09.2020 by Larry E. Humes
Purpose: The two primary purposes of this report are (a) to compare the results of three brief cognitive screens in older adults and (b) to examine associations between performance on each of the screens and auditory function measured either concurrently or 9 years earlier.
Method: This was a prospective longitudinal study of 98 adults (66 women) with baseline ages ranging from 40 to 85 years. The mean interval between T1 baseline and T2 follow-up measurements was 8.8 years with a range from 7 to 11 years. Measures of hearing threshold, gap detection, and auditory temporal-order identification were completed at T1 and T2. The Mini-Mental State Examination was completed at T1 and T2, whereas the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and A Quick Test were completed at T2 only.
Results: Higher scores and pass rates were obtained for the Mini-Mental State Examination than for the MoCA or the A Quick Test. The measures were moderately correlated among themselves and with the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale–Third Edition. Significant associations emerged frequently between auditory and cognitive functions, most often for the auditory measure of temporal-order identification, including dichotic measures of this ability.
Conclusions: From this evaluation, the MoCA emerged as the preferred test for clinicians desiring a quick assessment of the cognitive function of their older patients. Auditory temporal-order identification is associated with cognitive function and explains about 10%–20% of the variation in cognitive function independent of age and hearing loss.

Supplemental Material S1. A schematic of the stimulus sequences for all four TempOrd identification tasks, together with audio examples for the two monaural tasks.

Humes, L. E. (2020). Associations between measures of auditory function and brief assessments of cognition. American Journal of Audiology. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_AJA-20-00077

Funding

This work was supported, in part, by a research grant from the National Institute on Aging, R01 AG008293, awarded to the author through a grant to Indiana University.

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