Cochlear dysfunction as an early biomarker of cognitive decline in normal hearing and mild hearing loss

Vicente Medel, Paul H. Delano, Chama Belkhiria, Alexis Leiva, Cristina De Gatica, Victor Vidal, Carlos F. Navarro, Simon San Martín, Melissa Martínez, Christine Gierke, Ximena García, Mauricio Cerda, Rodrigo Vergara, Carolina Delgado, Gonzalo A. Farías*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Age-related hearing loss is an important risk factor for cognitive decline. However, audiogram thresholds are not good estimators of dementia risk in subjects with normal hearing or mild hearing loss. Here we propose to use distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) as an objective and sensitive tool to estimate the risk of cognitive decline in older adults with normal hearing or mild hearing loss. METHODS: We assessed neuropsychological, brain magnetic resonance imaging, and auditory analyses on 94 subjects > 64 years of age. RESULTS: We found that cochlear dysfunction, measured by DPOAEs—and not by conventional audiometry—was associated with Clinical Dementia Rating Sum of Boxes (CDR-SoB) classification and brain atrophy in the group with mild hearing loss (25 to 40 dB) and normal hearing (<25 dB). DISCUSSION: Our findings suggest that DPOAEs may be a non-invasive tool for detecting neurodegeneration and cognitive decline in the older adults, potentially allowing for early intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12467
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Alzheimer's & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Alzheimer's Association.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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