Visual short-term memory binding deficit with age-related hearing loss in cognitively normal older adults

Loughrey, David G. and Parra, Mario A. and Lawlor, Brian A. (2019) Visual short-term memory binding deficit with age-related hearing loss in cognitively normal older adults. Scientific Reports, 9. 12600. ISSN 2045-2322

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    Abstract

    Age-related hearing loss (ARHL) has been posited as a possible modifiable risk factor for neurocognitive impairment and dementia. Measures sensitive to early neurocognitive changes associated with ARHL would help to elucidate the mechanisms underpinning this relationship. We hypothesized that ARHL might be associated with decline in visual short-term memory binding (VSTMB), a potential biomarker for preclinical dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We examined differences in accuracy between older adults with hearing loss and a control group on the VSTMB task from a single feature (shapes) condition to a feature binding (shapes-colors) condition. Hearing loss was associated with a weaker capacity to process bound features which appeared to be accounted for by a weaker sensitivity for change detection (A’). Our findings give insight into the neural mechanisms underpinning neurocognitive decline with ARHL and its temporal sequence.