Issues in Cognitive Screenings by Audiologists

It almost goes without saying that one’s cognitive or emotional status, neurologic status, and state of mental health impacts sensory perceptions. The opposite is also true. Specifically, sensory changes can (and do) impact cognitive, emotional, and/or psychological status. Indeed, for the patient with a
significant sensory deficit, it’s difficult to imagine their sensory deficit not impacting their cognitive status! In this paper we advocate for universal cognitive screening of patients 70 years of age and older with hearing loss and/or listening difficulties— even in the absence of obvious signs or symptoms of cognitive impairment. It is our conviction that improved audiologic outcomes, adherence to aural rehabilitative strategies (including listening strategies and use of assistive listening devices and hearing aids), and improvement in quality of life are the likely outcomes resulting from the incorporation of universal cognitive screenings. That is, the inclusion of cognitive screening tests would improve the ability of the audiologist to better understand and address the very common complaint of not being able to understand speech in noise.

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Optometrists can recommend lifestyle changes to delay vision impairment and at the same time help maintain both cognitive function and physical health as people age.

Dr. Scott Sedlacek, OD.


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