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Hearing Function and Brain Health in the Elderly: Interrelations and risk factors

Pauline Helen Croll

Hearing loss has been identified as a promising modifiable risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia. However, the mechanism underlying this association remains unknown. Several hypotheses have been proposed, amongst which are the common-cause hypothesis and the sensory deprivation hypothesis. The common-cause hypothesis states that there is a third factor causing both hearing loss and impoverished functional brain health. The sensory-deprivation hypothesis proposes that hearing loss has a direct, permanent negative effect on brain health. The aim of this thesis was to 1) identify potential risk factors for both hearing function and brain health, and 2) assess the direct association between hearing function and structural and functional brain health.

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