Age-related hearing loss (ARHL) or presbycusis, as the third leading cause of chronic disability in older adults, has been shown to be associated with predisposing cognitive impairment and dementia. Tinnitus is also a chronic auditory disorder demonstrating a growth rate with increasing age. Recent evidence stands for the link between bothersome tinnitus and impairments in various aspects of cognitive function. Both ARHL and age-related tinnitus affect mental health and contribute to developing anxiety, stress, and depression. The present review is a comprehensive multidisciplinary study on diverse interactions among ARHL, tinnitus, and cognitive decline in older adults. This review incorporates the latest evidence in prevalence and risk factors of ARHL and tinnitus, the neural substrates of tinnitus-related cognitive impairments, hypothesized mechanisms concerning the association between ARHL and increased risk of dementia, hearing amplification outcomes in cases with ARHL and cognitive decline, and preliminary findings on the link between ARHL and cognitive impairment in animal studies. Given extensive evidence that demonstrates advantages of using auditory amplification in the alleviation of hearing handicap, depression, and tinnitus, and the improvement of cognition, social communication, and quality of life, regular hearing screening programs for identification and management of midlife hearing loss and tinnitus is strongly recommended.
Keywords: Age-related hearing loss; Aging; Alzheimer’s disease; Anxiety; Aural rehabilitation; Cochlear implant; Cognitive decline; Cognitive reserve; Dementia; Depression; Hearing aid; Hyperacusis; Stress; Tinnitus.
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