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Hearing loss and cognitive decline in Singapore: status quo of an island nation

Presenting Author: Rebecca Heywood

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 June 2016

Rebecca Heywood
Affiliation:
Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
Priyanka Vankayalapati
Affiliation:
Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
Dona Jayakody
Affiliation:
Ear Science Institute Australia
Rob Eikelboom
Affiliation:
Ear Science Institute Australia
Gary Lee
Affiliation:
Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
Jiaying Liu
Affiliation:
Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
Vyas Prasad
Affiliation:
Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
Euan Murugasu
Affiliation:
Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
Marcus Atlas
Affiliation:
Ear Science Institute Australia
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Abstract

Type
Abstracts
Copyright
Copyright © JLO (1984) Limited 2016 

Learning objectives:

  1. 1. Understand the challenges related to hearing health and cognitive decline in seniors facing a small country that has undergone rapid development over the last 50 years.

  2. 2. Identify ways that may start to address these through education and research.

Introduction: The burden of dementia continues to rise worldwide. Hearing loss has been independently associated with accelerated cognitive decline and identified as an independent risk factor for all-cause dementia. Singapore is a small country facing a rapidly ageing population. This study aims to review the current status of hearing health and cognitive decline in seniors in Singapore.

Methods: A literature search of articles published in English was conducted based on PRISMA guidelines.

Results: The prevalence of dementia is estimated to be 10% in those ≥60 years and increases with age. Interethnic differences have been identified (lower in ethnic Chinese compared to Malays and Indians). Data estimating the prevalence of hearing loss in ageing Singaporeans is scant. Thresholds of >40 dB in the better ear were found in 54% and in at least one ear in 87%. Untreated hearing loss in the elderly results in significant decline in the quality of life of both the individual and their family. Self-perception of hearing loss is a very poor indicator of the presence of hearing loss. Between 20 and 33% of hearing impaired seniors were willing to consider a hearing aid; between 23 and 83% felt that it was unnecessary. Seniors who are independent in their activities of daily living (ADLs) are more likely to consider hearing aids than those who are ADL dependent and housebound.

Conclusions: Hearing loss and cognitive impairment will become increasing public health concerns. Further studies assessing whether the treatment of hearing loss can slow the rate of cognitive decline among older adults are required.