Accelerated Cognitive Decline Associated With Hearing Loss and Bilateral Vestibulopathy: Insights From a Prospective Cross-Sectional Study Using the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status Adjusted for the Hearing Impaired in the DFNA9 Population

Hanne Gommeren*, Joyce Bosmans, Julie Moyaert, Griet Mertens, Patrick Cras, Sebastiaan Engelborghs, Angelique Van Ombergen, Annick Gilles, Erik Fransen, Raymond van de Berg, Sebastien JanssensdeVarebeke, Vincent Van Rompaey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background: DeaFNess Autosomal dominant 9 (DFNA9) is a hereditary disorder known to affect both hearing and vestibular function in its carriers. Its phenotype is characterized by progressive sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) and vestibular dysfunction evolving towards bilateral vestibulopathy (BV) by the 3rd to 5th life decade. Recent studies have identified the impact of hearing loss and vestibular dysfunction on cognitive functioning. Objective: The main objective of this study was to investigate how the cognitive functioning of carriers of the p.Pro51Ser variant in the COCH gene is affected by the disease and compare these results with a matched healthy control group. Study design: Forty-six carriers of the pathogenic p.Pro51Ser variant in the COCH gene were included in this study, of which 38 met the Bárány Society criteria and were thus diagnosed with BV. All subjects were between the age of 22 and 72 years old. Each control was individually matched based on age, gender, and education level. A cognitive, vestibular, and hearing assessment was performed in all subjects. All participants completed the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status, adjusted for the Hearing Impaired (RBANS-H), a cognitive test battery that includes subtests probing Immediate and Delayed Memory, Visuospatial/Constructional, Language, and Attention. Results: Overall, the DFNA9 patients demonstrated significantly lower scores on the Immediate Memory subscale and lower Total Scale scores than their healthy matched controls. The total sample was divided into two groups: Age <55 years old and age ≥55 years old. The DFNA9 group aged ≥55 years old obtained significantly lower scores on the Attention subscale and lower Total Scale scores than their matched controls. Cognition of DFNA9 patients aged <55 years old no longer differed significantly from their matched controls. Conclusion: This cross-sectional study found that DFNA9 patients demonstrated cognitive deficits in comparison with their healthy matched controls. The DFNA9 group aged ≥ 55 years old obtained significantly lower scores on the Total Scale and Attention subscale. This finding; however, was not observed for the age group younger than 55 years old. Further research is needed on the individual trajectory of SNHL and vestibular function, and how hearing rehabilitation affects cognitive functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-709
Number of pages13
JournalEar and Hearing
Volume44
Issue number4
Early online date20 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023

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