The UK Biobank offers cross-sectional epidemiological data collected on >500,000 individuals in the UK between 40 and 70 years of age. Using the UK Biobank data, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of functional hearing loss and hearing aid usage on visuospatial memory function. This selection of variables resulted in a sub-sample of 138,098 participants after discarding extreme values. A digit triplets functional hearing test was used to divide the participants into three groups: poor, insufficient and normal hearers. We found negative relationships between functional hearing loss and both visuospatial working memory (i.e., a card pair matching task) and visuospatial, episodic long-term memory (i.e., a prospective memory task), with the strongest association for episodic longterm memory. The use of hearing aids showed a small positive effect for working memory performance for the poor hearers, but did not have any influence on episodic long-term memory. Age also showed strong main effects for both memory tasks and interacted with gender and education for the long-term memory task. Broader theoretical implications based on a memory systems approach will be discussed and compared to theoretical alternatives.
Ronnberg J, Hygge S, Keidser G and Rudner M (2014) The effect of functional hearing loss and age on long- and short-term visuospatial memory: evidence from the UK biobank resource. Front. Aging Neurosci. 6:326. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2014.00326
The impact of hearing difficulty and hearing aids on depression and fluid intelligence
The overall aim of this project is to establish the impact of hearing difficulty and hearing aids on depression and fluid intelligence. It is estimated that more than 500 million people worldwide have a permanent hearing loss, which is the third leading cause of years lost to disability. It is further estimated that less than 20% of people with a measurable hearing loss are treated with hearing aids. Untreated hearing loss has among other factors been associated with decreased psychosocial well-being, cognitive function, and self-sufficiency, and is the 13th highest contributor to the global burden of disease. This project will perform cross-sectional analyses to determine the relationship between (a) depression and hearing difficulty, and (b) fluid intelligence and hearing difficulty, when controlling for influences by such factors as age, gender, country of birth, other sensory declines (e.g. visual and tactile), and the use of hearing aids. Data only (no samples) from the full cohort will be included in the analyses. Further, statistical modelling will be used to determine if hearing disability is impacting these parameters directly, or via other factors such as age, social isolation, general health, deprivation, memory, and education. The UK Biobank data offer a unique opportunity to study these questions in a large sample of volunteers from the general population. Outcomes of this study will enable governments to make rational decisions about expenditure of public money on hearing aid treatments and clinicians to provide more effective rehabilitation and counselling.
Rönnberg J, Hygge S, Keidser G and Rudner M (2014) The effect of functional hearing loss and age on long- and short-term visuospatial memory: evidence from the UK biobank resource. Front. Aging Neurosci. 6:326. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2014.00326
Keidser G, Rudner M, Seeto M, Hygge S and Rönnberg J (2016) The Effect of Functional Hearing and Hearing Aid Usage on Verbal Reasoning in a Large Community-Dwelling Population, Ear and Hearing, January/February 2016 - Volume 37 - Issue 1 - p e26 e36, doi: 10.1097/AUD.0000000000000196
Keidser G and Seeto M, National Acoustic Laboratories and the HEARing CRC (2016) The influence of social interaction and physical health on the association between hearing and depression with age and gender, National Accoustics Laboratories DSpace Repository https://dspace.nal.gov.au/xmlui/handle/123456789/497?show=full
|Lead investigator:|| Jerker Rönnberg|
|Lead institution:||Linnaeus Centre HEAD|
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