Introduction A number of studies have reported an association between peripheral hearing impairment, central auditory processing and Alzheimer's disease (AD) and its preclinical stages. Both peripheral hearing impairment and central auditory processing disorders are observed many years prior to the clinical manifestation of AD symptoms, hence, providing a long window of opportunity to investigate potential interventions against neurodegenerative processes. This paper outlines the protocol for a systematic review of studies examining the central auditory processing functions in AD and its preclinical stages, investigated through behavioural (clinical assessments that require active participation) central auditory processing tests. Methods and analysis We will use the keywords and Medical Subject Heading terms to search the following electronic databases: MEDLINE, PsychINFO, PubMed, Scopus, EMBASE and CINAHL Plus. Studies including assessments of central auditory function in adults diagnosed with dementia, AD and its preclinical stages that were published before 8 May 2019 will be reviewed. This review protocol will be reported according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Protocols guidelines. Data analysis and search results will be reported in the full review. This manuscript has designed the protocols for a systematic review that will identify the behavioural clinical central auditory processing measures that are sensitive to the changes in auditory function in adults with AD and its preclinical stages. Such assessments may subsequently help to design studies to examine the potential impact of hearing and communication rehabilitation of individuals at risk of AD. Ethics and dissemination Ethical approval is not required as this manuscript only reports the protocols for conducting a systematic review as primary data will only be reviewed and not be collected. The results of this systematic review will be disseminated through publication and in scientific conferences. PROSPERO registration number CRD42017078272.
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- Alzheimer's disease
- central auditory processing
- mild cognitive impairment
- subjective cognitive decline