Hearing impairment and missing cognitive test scores in a population-based study of older adults: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities neurocognitive study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Hearing impairment is associated with poor cognitive test performance in older adults. However, hearing's impact on cognitive test completion is poorly described, and missing cognitive data due to hearing impairment could misestimate the association. Methods: We investigated if hearing impairment is associated with missing neurocognitive scores in 3678 adults (72-94 years). Hearing impairment was defined by the better-ear pure tone average of speech-frequency thresholds (0.5-4 kHz) >25 decibels. Results: Hearing impairment was associated with greater missingness on all auditory-only tests, including Logical Memory (prevalence ratio [PR] comparing ≥ moderate impairment vs normal hearing:1.68, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.26, 2.25) and Digits Backwards (PR 1.62; 95% CI 1.21, 2.17); and two non-auditory tests, Boston Naming (PR 1.61; 95% CI 1.21, 2.17) and Trail Making B (PR 1.55; 95% CI 1.29, 1.86). Models that imputed missing cognitive scores showed the strongest hearing-cognition associations. Discussion: Older adults with hearing impairment are less likely to complete cognitive testing, thereby underestimating the hearing impairment-cognition relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1725-1734
Number of pages10
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Volume17
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2021

Keywords

  • bias
  • cognition
  • epidemiologic methods
  • hearing
  • missing data
  • older adults
  • sensory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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