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Cognitive screenings in otolaryngology? The time has come


Journal of Otolaryngology-ENT Research
Douglas L Beck,1 Jedidiah J Grisel2

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Abstract

The demographics and communicative disorders which traverse aging, neurocognitive disorders and auditory problems are staggering. Lancet Public Health1 estimates 57 million people globally with dementia in 2019 and by 2050 there will be 153 million cases. People seek counsel from hearing care professionals (HCPs) because of complaints and observations such as they cannot understand speech-in-noise (SIN), and/or they are not sure what someone just said, and/or they cannot recall the details of a recent conversation. For many, the complaints and observations of hearing and listening disorders are the same as, and may overlap with complaints and observations of, mild cognitive impairment and other neurocognitive disorders. In this article we review the current knowledge related to cognition and audition; we explore the practical reasons for incorporating cognitive screening into otolaryngology clinics, with specific regard to patients with hearing and listening problems. We review and explore auditory and cognitive disorders and we specify that these are not silos. That is, they may (and often do) occur in isolation or in-tandem. We will review multiple studies which demonstrate that for some people, some of the time, early detection of neurocognitive anomalies may help facilitate an improved cognitive trajectory via hearing aid amplification, cochlear implantation, and through attending to modifiable risk factors.

Keywords

otolaryngology, neurocognitive disorders, auditory problems

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