Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent chronic health conditions in older adults. Growing evidence suggests that hearing loss is associated with reduced cognitive functioning and incident dementia. In this mini-review, we briefly examine literature on anatomical and functional alterations in the brains of adults with acquired age-associated hearing loss, which may underlie the cognitive consequences observed in this population, focusing on studies that have used structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging, diffusion tensor imaging, and event-related electroencephalography. We discuss structural and functional alterations observed in the temporal and frontal cortices and the limbic system. These neural alterations are discussed in the context of common cause, information-degradation, and sensory-deprivation hypotheses, and we suggest possible rehabilitation strategies. Although, we are beginning to learn more about changes in neural architecture and functionality related to age-associated hearing loss, much work remains to be done. Understanding the neural alterations will provide objective markers for early identification of neural consequences of age-associated hearing loss and for evaluating benefits of intervention approaches.
- Hearing loss
ASJC Scopus subject areas