Age-related hearing loss and dementia: a 10-year national population-based study


Age-related hearing loss (ARHL) is postulated to affect dementia. Our study aims to investigate the relationship between ARHL and the prevalence, and 10-year incidence of dementia in the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD). We selected patients diagnosed with ARHL from the NHIRD. A comparison cohort comprising of patients without ARHL was frequency-matched by age, sex, and co-morbidities, and the occurrence of dementia was evaluated in both cohorts. The ARHL cohort consisted of 4108 patients with ARHL and the control cohort consisted of 4013 frequency-matched patients without ARHL. The incidence of dementia [hazard ratio (HR), 1.30; 95% confidence interval (CI 1.14–1.49); P = 0.002] was higher among ARHL patients. Cox models showed that being female (HR, 1.34; 95% CI 1.07–1.68), as well as having co-morbidities, including chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, stroke, head injury, chronic kidney disease, coronary artery disease, alcohol abuse/dependence, and tobacco abuse/dependence (HR, 1.27; 95% CI 1.11–1.45), were independent risk factors for dementia in ARHL patients. We found ARHL may be one of the early characteristics of dementia, and patients with hearing loss were at a higher risk of subsequent dementia. Clinicians should be more sensitive to dementia symptoms within the first 2 years following ARHL diagnosis. Further clinical studies of the relationship between dementia and ARHL may be necessary.

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Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Kuang-Hsi Chang or Yi-Chao Hsu.

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This study is supported by grants of from the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan (MOST103-2314-B-715-001-MY2, MOST104-2314-B-715 -003 -MY3), Taiwan Ministry of Health and Welfare Clinical Trial and Research Center of Excellence (MOHW104-TDU-B-212-113002), China Medical University Hospital, Academia Sinica Taiwan Biobank Stroke Biosignature Project (BM104010092), NRPB Stroke Clinical Trial Consortium (MOST 103-2325-B-039 -006), Tseng-Lien Lin Foundation, Taichung, Taiwan, Taiwan Brain Disease Foundation, Taipei, Taiwan, and Katsuzo and Kiyo Aoshima Memorial Funds, Japan. Part of this article was prepared on the basis of our studies supported by intramural research grants from Mackay Medical College (MMC1012A10, MMC1012B13).

Conflict of interest

Every author declares that he/she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors. The NHIRD contains only encrypted patient information; it provides anonymous identification numbers and corresponding claims information, including gender, date of birth, administered medical services, and prescriptions given. Patient consent is not required to access the data stored in NHIRD. This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of China Medical University Hospital (CMUH104-REC2-115). The IRB waived the consent requirement.

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Su, P., Hsu, CC., Lin, HC. et al. Age-related hearing loss and dementia: a 10-year national population-based study. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 274, 2327–2334 (2017).

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  • Presbycusis
  • Age-related hearing loss
  • Dementia
  • Sensory hearing loss