The impact of age-related hearing loss on structural neuroanatomy: a meta-analysis
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Description: Dementia affects a large portion of the population, in 2019 almost 885,000 older people were living with the syndrome in the UK (Wittenberg, Hu, Barraza-Araiza, & Rehill, 2019). As the population continues to age, we are faced with rising dementia prevalence. A number of potentially modifiable risk factors for the syndrome have been identified (Livingston et al., 2020). The largest of these factors being mid-life hearing loss; authors suggest that cases could be reduced by 8% if this factor is eliminated (Livingston et al., 2020). There is evidence that hearing loss is accompanied by neural changes, both anatomically and functionally (Belkhiria et al., 2019; Lin et al., 2014). The first step in understanding how age-related hearing loss (ARHL) affects the brain is to collate the existing evidence of how ARHL effects brain anatomy. This will inform researchers which brain areas display atrophy after age-related hearing loss. Awareness of this atrophy will help us to understand the neural underpinnings of the relationship between age-related hearing loss and brain structure in later life, and in turn cognitive processes. The aim of this meta-analysis is to understand, from both a cross-sectional and longitudinal perspective, the neural anatomical changes associated with age-related hearing loss. The protocol was preregistered on PROSPERO: A systematic review of the neural and cognitive changes associated with aided and unaided age-related hearing loss. PROSPERO 2021 CRD42021265375 Available from: https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/display_record.php?ID=CRD42021265375