Hearing Loss Is Negatively Related to Episodic and Semantic Long-Term Memory but Not to Short-Term Memory Purpose: To test the relationship between degree of hearing loss and different memory systems in hearing aid users.Method: Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to study the relationship between auditory and visual acuity and different cognitive and memory functions in an age-hetereogenous subsample of 160 hearing aid users ... Article
Article  |   April 2011
Hearing Loss Is Negatively Related to Episodic and Semantic Long-Term Memory but Not to Short-Term Memory
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jerker Rönnberg
    Linnaeus Centre HEAD (HEaring and Deafness), Linköping University, Sweden
    Linnaeus Centre HEAD (HEaring and Deafness), Linköping University, Sweden
  • Henrik Danielsson
    Linnaeus Centre HEAD (HEaring and Deafness), Linköping University, Sweden
    Linnaeus Centre HEAD (HEaring and Deafness), Linköping University, Sweden
  • Mary Rudner
    Linnaeus Centre HEAD (HEaring and Deafness), Linköping University, Sweden
    Linnaeus Centre HEAD (HEaring and Deafness), Linköping University, Sweden
  • Stig Arlinger
    Linnaeus Centre HEAD (HEaring and Deafness), Linköping University, Sweden
    Linnaeus Centre HEAD (HEaring and Deafness), Linköping University, Sweden
  • Ola Sternäng
    Stockholm University, Sweden
    Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Åke Wahlin
    Stockholm University, Sweden
    Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Lars-Göran Nilsson
    Stockholm University, Sweden
    Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Correspondence to Jerker Rönnberg: Jerker.Ronnberg@liu.se
  • Editor: Robert Schlauch
    Editor: Robert Schlauch×
  • Associate Editor: Stanley Gelfand
    Associate Editor: Stanley Gelfand×
  • © 2011 American Speech-Language-Hearing AssociationAmerican Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Hearing
Article   |   April 2011
Hearing Loss Is Negatively Related to Episodic and Semantic Long-Term Memory but Not to Short-Term Memory
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2011, Vol. 54, 705-726. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0088)
History: Received May 8, 2009 , Revised February 24, 2010 , Accepted September 14, 2010
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2011, Vol. 54, 705-726. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0088)
History: Received May 8, 2009; Revised February 24, 2010; Accepted September 14, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 17

Purpose: To test the relationship between degree of hearing loss and different memory systems in hearing aid users.

Method: Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to study the relationship between auditory and visual acuity and different cognitive and memory functions in an age-hetereogenous subsample of 160 hearing aid users without dementia, drawn from the Swedish prospective cohort aging study known as Betula (L.-G. Nilsson et al., 1997).

Results: Hearing loss was selectively and negatively related to episodic and semantic long-term memory (LTM) but not short-term memory (STM) performance. This held true for both ears, even when age was accounted for. Visual acuity alone, or in combination with auditory acuity, did not contribute to any acceptable SEM solution.

Conclusions: The overall relationships between hearing loss and memory systems were predicted by the ease of language understanding model (J. Rönnberg, 2003), but the exact mechanisms of episodic memory decline in hearing aid users (i.e., mismatch/disuse, attentional resources, or information degradation) remain open for further experiments. The hearing aid industry should strive to design signal processing algorithms that are cognition friendly.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by Linnaeus Centre HEAD Grant 349-2007-8654 from the Swedish Research Council, awarded to the first author, and by grants from the Swedish Council for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Grant F337/1988–2000), the Swedish Council for Social Research (Grants 1988–1990: 88-0082, 311/1991–2000), and the Swedish Research Council (Grants 2001-6654, 2002-3794, and 2003-3883), awarded to the last author. We thank Kathy Pichora-Fuller at the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, for her constructive comments on this article.
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