Introduction Investigating auditory functions in populations at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD) using auditory neurophysiological measurements can potentially identify a crucial and sensitive diagnostic window of opportunity in preclinical AD. Auditory electrophysiological assessments have gained interest as possible tools for early diagnosis of AD. This paper outlines the protocol that will be used to systematically review the published literature currently available on auditory electrophysiological assessments that have been used to assess the auditory functions of adults over the age of 60 years diagnosed with AD or its preclinical stages. Methods and analysis All full-length peer-reviewed publications of original data that use auditory electrophysiological assessments in AD and its preclinical stages (subjective cognitive decline (SCD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI)) will be considered in this review. The search will be performed on major electronic databases (Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, PsycINFO, PubMed, Scopus and CINAHL Plus) using keywords alone or in combination with Medical Subject Headings divided into two domains; (i) auditory tests and (ii) AD. The database search will be conducted on the 7 th of May 2019. Data analysis will be completed and reported in the full review. A random effects meta-analysis will also be conducted using the Comprehensive Meta-Analysis software, V.3. This review will describe which auditory electrophysiological tests have been found to be useful in assessing the auditory function in cognitively impaired adults (MCI and AD) or adults with serious complaints about their cognition (SCD). This review will also identify and describe which auditory electrophysiological test demonstrates the most sensitivity in differentiating people at different stages of cognitive decline. Ethics and dissemination This systematic review focusses on analysing already available literature. Therefore, there will be no requirement for ethical approval. The systematic review findings will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publication as well as relevant media platforms, for example, conferences. Systematic review registration PROSPERO CRD42019133553.
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- auditory evoked potentials
- cognitive impairment