7.22.2008

Hearing-Cognition Link Sounded by CAPD
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CAPD or Central Auditory Processing Dysfunction represents another possible indicator for changes in mental status - based on your auditory responsiveness.

What does it mean? Those who suffer from CAPD are unable to distinguish sounds from the background noise.

Since we 'hear' in our brains and not in our ears - which are a collection device for sound waves, you see how this could be possible. Sound waves are re-assembled into the corresponding impression that is delivered to the blank audiovisual system of our consciousness.

Previous studies have shown that central auditory processing is impaired in individuals with dyslexia, Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.

Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle tested the central auditory processing function of 313 elderly individuals using three tests: one in which nonsense sentences were read over the background of an interesting narrative and two in which separate sentences or numbers were read into each ear simultaneously.

"These central auditory processing test paradigms evaluate how well an individual manages competing signals, a task that requires adequate short-term memory and the ability to shift attention rapidly," study authors write.

Average scores on central auditory processing tests were significantly lower in the group with dementia and in the group with mild memory impairment than in the control group without memory problems.

From their findings, the authors suggest central auditory testing be regularly conducted on aging patients with hearing complaints.

Other senses, such as smell, also are impacted by cognitive decline.

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