2 July 2016
Hearing deficits associated with cognitive impairment have attracted much recent interest, motivated by emerging evidence that impaired hearing is a risk factor for cognitive decline. However, dementia and hearing impairment present immense challenges in their own right, and their intersection in the auditory brain remains poorly understood and difficult to assess. Here, we outline a clinically oriented, symptom-based approach to the assessment of hearing in dementias, informed by recent progress in the clinical auditory neuroscience of these diseases. We consider the significance and interpretation of hearing loss and symptoms that point to a disorder of auditory cognition in patients with dementia. We identify key auditory characteristics of some important dementias and conclude with a bedside approach to assessing and managing auditory dysfunction in dementia.