Recent studies suggest that subjects with hearing loss are more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. Hearing loss can be consecutive to presbycusis and/or to central auditory dysfunction. Standard audiometric measures (pure tone and speech intelligibility) allow the diagnosis of presbycusis. However, to demonstrate central auditory dysfunction, specific audiometric tests are needed such as noisy and/or dichotic tests. Actually, no consensus exists to investigate hearing loss in people with Alzheimer's disease though hearing loss may be an early manifestation of Alzheimer's disease. Until now, investigations and clinical procedure related to the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease ignored the hearing ability of the patient. However, the major part of care management and investigations implies the patient's communication ability with the caregivers. Hearing loss may be one of the most unrecognized deficit in subjects with Alzheimer's disease. Auditory rehabilitation could benefit to the patient in order to lessen cognitive decline, but this must be investigated during longitudinal studies in order to clearly demonstrate their efficiency.
Keywords: Alzheimer disease; central auditory dysfunction; hearing loss; presbycusis.