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Worsening hearing was associated with higher β-amyloid and tau burden in age-related hearing loss
Mengmeng Zheng 1, Jiangyu Yan 1, Wenjuan Hao 1, Yuan Ren 1, Ming Zhou 2, Yunzhi Wang 3, Kai Wang 4
Age-related hearing loss (ARHL) represents the frequently occurring disability that affects the elderly worldwide. The recent evidence has calculated ARHL to be most potential risk factor to predict dementia. β-amyloid plaques and tau accumulation in brain are hallmarks pathologic feature of Alzheimer's disease (AD), which is a leading cause resulting in dementia. However, the potential mechanistic associations between ARHL and dementia remains unknown. We performed the present cross-sectional cohort study by enrolling 72 patients from research on hearing as well as the pathologic hallmarks of AD in brain. The exposure of hearing was measured by either word recognition score or mean pure-tone of the superior ear. The brain β-amyloid and tau standardized uptake value ratio (SUVR) were measured by positron emission tomography (PET). The covariates included gender, age, cardiovascular disease, education and hearing aid use. To analyze the association between hearing and β-amyloid/tau, linear regression was used and adjusted for potentially confounding covariates. Our data showed that the mean age was 67.1 ± 2.9 years. After adjusted for all the covariates, SUVR of β-amyloid showed an increase of 0.028 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.004-0.061; P = 0.026], while that of tau exhibited an increase of 0.026 (95% CI 0.003-0.056; P = 0.033) per mean pure-tone increase by 10 dB (worsening). Likewise, per mean word-recognition score increase by 10%, the SUVR of β-amyloid showed an increase of 0.060 (95% CI 0.008-0.113; P = 0.023), while that of tau exhibited an increase of 0.059 (95% CI 0.009-0.111; P = 0.031). Taken together, our data demonstrates that hearing worsening was related to the increased burdens of β-amyloid as well as tau detected by PET, which were the AD pathological markers.