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Audibility and processing effort can bias cognitive-test performance
In recent years, dementia research has increasingly focused on age-related hearing loss and its association with accelerated cognitive decline and contribution to dementia risk.1
In this issue, Parker et al 2 (pp172–176) investigated whether pure-tone audiometric thresholds (an indicator of peripheral hearing status) predict biomarkers of dementia-associated cerebral pathologies and cognitive performance in the preclinical older population. Hearing thresholds were indeed negatively associated with scores on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), a widely used screen for cognitive impairment. However, the authors noticed that this relationship was no longer significant when the auditory-based repetition item of the MMSE (“No ifs, ands, or buts.”) was excluded from the analysis.
From an audiological point …
Contributors CF was responsible for all aspects of the drafting of the commentary.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.