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

David G. Loughrey, Mario A. Parra, Brian A. Lawlor

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12600
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2019


  • age-related hearing loss
  • cognitive decline
  • mechanisms
  • dementia
  • short-term memory binding
  • risk factor

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