Effect of Hearing Ability and Mild Behavioural Impairment on MoCA and Memory Index Scores

Penny A. Gosselin, Zahinoor Ismail, Peter D. Faris, Carmen L. Benkoczi, Tammy L. Fraser, Steven W. Cherry, Tracey I. Faulkner, Md Shariful Islam



The life-course model of modifiable risk factors for dementia now recognizes managing hearing loss and addressing social isolation.


To investigate the contribution and inter-relationship of hear-ing ability and behaviour change on cognitive ability.


We present the preliminary findings from a prospective lon-gitudinal study of 35 non-demented participants ages 60–93, recruited from community rehabilitation and acute-care programs of Geriatric Medicine, who underwent baseline hearing, behavioural, and cognitive testing.


After controlling for age and hearing impairment, the left ear Dichotic Digit Test (DDT) score accounted uniquely for 20% of the variance in MoCA Memory Index (p = .016 with β = .598). Mild Behavioural Impairment (MBI) was highly prevalent, with 80% of older adults reporting at least one MBI symptom. People with hearing impairment had greater global MBI burden than people with normal hearing, especially in the domains of apathy and impulse dyscontrol; however, greater severity of hearing impairment was not associated with a higher number of neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS).


Low left DDT contributed to lower memory index and greater MBI burden is associated with hearing impairment. Our find-ings demonstrate the value of early non-invasive hearing and behavioural assessments as part of dementia risk assessment in older adults.



hearing impairment; Mild Behavioural Impairment; cognition; MoCA memory index; age

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5770/cgj.22.374


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ISSN: 1925-8348 (Online)