Hearing loss, cognition, and incident dementia in Australia: findings from the Sydney Memory and Ageing Study

Paul Strutt, Amanda Barnier (Contributor), Gregory Savage (Contributor), Viviana Wuthrich (Contributor), Brian Draper (Contributor), Henry Brodaty (Contributor)

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


    Background: In Australia, hearing loss is the second-most common health condition, affecting 74% of people aged over 70. Estimates suggest that people with mild hearing loss are twice as likely to develop dementia, and people with severe hearing loss are five times more likely to develop dementia.
    Method: Using data from the Sydney Memory and Ageing Study (MAS), in which 1,037 adults aged between 70-90 years were enrolled and completed biannual assessments from 2005-2017, we present the first known Australian-based report of hearing loss and dementia incidence using a large longitudinal Australian cohort. Two sets of analyses were conducted, (1) Cross-sectional analyses examining the association self-reported hearing difficulty and cognitive performance (using One-Way ANCOVA), and (2) Longitudinal analyses examining risk for dementia at two-year follow-up (using Cox Regression adjusted for known covariates).
    Results: Hearing difficulties are associated with poorer cognition, and cognition tends to decline with degree of hearing difficulty. Hearing loss is longitudinally associated with incident dementia risk. Those with mild hearing difficulties were 17% more likely to be diagnosed with dementia within two years, while those with moderate-severe difficulties were more than 2.5 times more likely to be diagnosed.
    Conclusions: Further analyses need to be undertaken over an extended follow-up period in order to more completely clarify the degree to which hearing loss is predictive of incident dementia, and to understand the benefits of hearing intervention for risk reduction. These initial findings present important implications for clinicians and consumers alike. In particular, medical and allied health professionals assessing cognition should consider the role of hearing loss on test performance, as well as a possible role in diagnostic formulation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2019
    EventAlzheimer's Association International Conference, Satellite Symposium - Sydney, Australia
    Duration: 25 Sept 201927 Sept 2019


    ConferenceAlzheimer's Association International Conference, Satellite Symposium
    Abbreviated titleAAIC Satellite Symposium
    Internet address


    Dive into the research topics of 'Hearing loss, cognition, and incident dementia in Australia: findings from the Sydney Memory and Ageing Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this