I recently discovered an article about the link between hearing or vision loss and cognitive processes such as memory and executive functions. A study conducted at Concordia University in Canada aimed to understand the link between reduced cognitive function and hearing or vision loss. The researchers attempted to test four hypotheses to see if there were any confounds that could explain this topic. The first hypothesis aimed to correlate the degeneration of cognitive processes with old age. The author states that as people age diseases like Dementia and Alzheimer’s can affect memory and other executive functions. The second hypothesis focused on whether the quality of the information affected the cognitive process. This touched on the notion that poor quality information could lead to poor cognitive functioning. The third hypothesis detailed the process of the brain expelling additional energy to comprehend what is occurring in the world around that person. Although these three hypotheses are interesting and should be researched they required additional time and resources. This led the researchers to their fourth and final hypothesis. The researchers looked to correlate sensory decline (vison or hearing loss) and social withdrawal and isolation. The participants were 45-85 years old and the sample size was 30,029 and it is important to note that all participants diagnosed with dementia were excluded from the study. The researchers used a self-report system and requested that participants also visit a testing center in order to gather hearing and vision data. According to the article, the study discovered that hearing loss could lead to poor executive functioning.
Although this article was very informative it is missing several key details from the study the information is pulled from. Overall, I think this is a topic that should continue to be researched because I think this topic could improve the lives of the older generation.
Original Study: Hämäläinen, A., Phillips, N., Wittich, W., Pichora-Fuller, M., & Mick, P. (2019). Sensory-cognitive associations are only weakly mediated or moderated by social factors in the canadian longitudinal study on aging. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 19660. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-55696-5