Sensorial frailty: age-related hearing loss and the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia in later life

Francesco Panza, Madia Lozupone, Rodolfo Sardone, Petronilla Battista, Marco Piccininni, Vittorio Dibello, Maddalena La Montagna, Roberta Stallone, Pietro Venezia, Angelo Liguori, Antonio Liguori, Gianluigi Giannelli, Antonello Bellomo, Alberto Bellomo, Antonio Greco, Andrea Greco, Antonio Daniele, Davide Seripa, Nicola Quaranta, Giancarlo Logroscino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)


The peripheral hearing alterations and central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) associated with age-related hearing loss (ARHL), may impact cognitive disorders in older age. In older age, ARHL is also a significant marker for frailty, another age-related multidimensional clinical condition with a nonspecific state of vulnerability, reduced multisystem physiological reserve, and decreased resistance to different stressors (i.e. sensorial impairments, psychosocial stress, diseases, injuries). The multidimensional nature of frailty required an approach based on different pathogeneses because this clinical condition may include sensorial, physical, social, nutritional, cognitive, and psychological phenotypes. In the present narrative review, the cumulative epidemiological evidence coming from several longitudinal population-based studies, suggested convincing links between peripheral ARHL and incident cognitive decline and dementia. Moreover, a few longitudinal case-control and population-based studies also suggested that age-related CAPD in ARHL, may be central in determining an increased risk of incident cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Cumulative meta-analytic evidence confirmed cross-sectional and longitudinal association of both peripheral ARHL and age-related CAPD with different domains of cognitive functions, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia, while the association with dementia subtypes such as AD and vascular dementia remained unclear. However, ARHL may represent a modifiable condition and a possible target for secondary prevention of cognitive impairment in older age, social isolation, late-life depression, and frailty. Further research is required to determine whether broader hearing rehabilitative interventions including coordinated counseling and environmental accommodations could delay or halt cognitive and global decline in the oldest old with both ARHL and dementia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2040622318811000-N/A
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • age-related hearing loss
  • auditory system
  • cognitive functions
  • dementia
  • frailty
  • lifestyle
  • presbycusis
  • vascular dementia


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