(HealthDay News) — Older individuals with hearing problems have accelerated brain atrophy, particularly in the right temporal lobe, according to a study published online January 9 in NeuroImage.

Frank R. Lin, MD, PhD, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues performed magnetic resonance imaging to analyze brain volumes (using semi-automated region-of-interest algorithms) in 126 individuals who were 56–86 years old, where 75 had normal hearing and 51 had hearing impairment.

After a mean of 6.4 years, the researchers found accelerated declines in whole brain volumes and regional volumes in the right temporal lobe (superior, middle, and inferior temporal gyri, and the parahippocampus) in those with hearing impairment. Adjusting for multiple confounders had no effect, and similar results were obtained using voxel-based analyses.

“These findings demonstrate that peripheral hearing impairment is independently associated with accelerated brain atrophy in whole brain and regional volumes concentrated in the right temporal lobe,” Lin and colleagues conclude.

One author disclosed financial ties to several pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

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