Correlation between Hearing and Memory in Healthy Elderly
Introduction: National and international studies have shown the relationship between hearing loss and cognitive decline in the elderly.
Objective: To correlate the hearing thresholds with performance on a memory test.
Methods: Cross-sectional, observational, and comparative study. Elderly participants of an extension project were evaluated by otoscopy, pure tone audiometry, and Rey Auditory-Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT), which assess immediate memory, retention of short and long term.
Results: We analyzed 20 elderly, 18 (90%) females, and 2 (10%) male. Mean age was 72.1 ± 6.6 years and mean years of education was 12 ± 4.3 years. The average hearing thresholds in the better ear was 25 ± 12.0 dB HL. Eleven elderly (55%) had normal hearing, 7 (35%) mild hearing loss, and 2 (10%) hearing loss of moderate degree. Regarding the performance in the RAVLT, the mean for learning Rey (A1-A5) were 34.5 ± 4.5 words, for immediate recall, it were 6.3 ± 2.4 words, and the recent memory, it were 5.7 ± 2.3 words. There was a negative correlation to performance in immediate memory and hearing thresholds (r = −0.549, p = 0.012).
Conclusion: Correlation between hearing thresholds and performance in tests of immediate memory.