How to differentiate between hearing loss and cognitive impairment?

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As early as 1986, scientists discovered that patients with hearing loss and dementia patients have similar symptoms, especially the clinical manifestations of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is one of the main reasons for confusion. Since then, many studies have fully confirmed that most patients with cognitive impairment also suffer from severe hearing loss. For example, Gold et al. in 1996 found that among their 52 patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other cognitive impairment, 49 patients had significant hearing impairment.

In view of this, as audiologists and clinicians, we must have a better understanding of age-related cognitive decline and hearing loss in order to effectively help patients.


How to differentiate between hearing loss and cognitive impairment?

Hearing loss refers to hearing loss caused by certain factors. The ability to perceive sounds is much worse than that of people with normal hearing, and it will affect work and life. You can choose Hearing Aids or cochlear implants. intervention.


Cognitive impairment is one of the psychological disorders, cognitive defects or abnormalities. Cognition refers to the process in which the human brain receives external information, processes it, and converts it into internal psychological activities, thereby acquiring knowledge or applying knowledge. It includes aspects such as memory, language, visuospatial execution, calculation, and comprehension judgment. Cognitive impairment refers to the impairment of one or more of the above-mentioned cognitive functions. When two or more of the above-mentioned cognitive domains are affected and affect an individual's daily or social abilities, dementia can be diagnosed.


Although the results of screening for mild cognitive impairment and dementia are quite different, the screening tools we use clinically are the same: using Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). This screening tool is a typical questionnaire that has high sensitivity and specificity in clinical practice and can have normal values ​​suitable for different education levels and ages. It has already been used in the country. Mild cognitive impairment may be related to a variety of factors, including Alzheimer's disease, stroke, brain injury, brain tumors, central nervous system infections, alcoholism, and other drug abuse. Judging from age alone, patients with mild cognitive impairment face far greater difficulties than people of the same age. Ms. Zhang Han pointed out that it should be noted that patients with mild cognitive impairment, unlike patients with dementia, do not show impairment in intellectual judgment or reasoning abilities. Therefore, academic circles believe that mild cognitive impairment is actually a so-called "transition syndrome" between normal cognitive function and dementia, because more than 50% of patients with mild cognitive impairmentWithin five years, dementia develops.

At present, how to effectively diagnose and treat cognitive impairment and hearing loss is still under research and will take some time. However, the use of appropriate auditory amplification devices, including hearing aids and auxiliary hearing aids, Listening devices, alarm devices, cochlear implants, frequency modulation, connection tools, etc., have certain effects. Together with activities such as corresponding cognitive exercises, social interaction, and physical exercise, they can slow down the decline of patients' cognitive abilities and may help Maintain and improve cognitive function. Because symptoms of hearing loss and cognitive impairment often overlap in older adults, doctors must be careful when diagnosing them because symptoms of hearing loss may manifest as cognitive impairment, and vice versa. Academics believe that leaving hearing problems unaddressed may accelerate cognitive decline. The main purpose of differentiating between hearing loss and cognitive impairment is to better treat these conditions.

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