Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2014 Apr;14 Suppl 2:56-61. doi: 10.1111/ggi.12251.
Effect of cerumen impaction on hearing and cognitive functions in Japanese older adults with cognitive impairment.
AIM: To assess the effect of cerumen impaction and its removal on hearing ability and cognitive function in elderly patients with memory disorders in Japan.
METHODS: Pure tone audiometry (PTA) and the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) were administered to participants before and after cerumen removal. Participants who had cerumen impaction in the better-hearing ear comprised the case group; the control group consisted of participants who either did not have cerumen impaction or had it in the worse hearing ear. Hearing and cognition changes were compared between the groups after cerumen removal.
RESULTS: A total of 55 patients who completed all examinations were assigned to the case group (29 patients) or the control group (26 patients). The average hearing change was 4.6 ± 7.4 in the case group and 0.9 ± 0.9 in the control group (P = 0.029). The average change in MMSE score was 0.7 ± 2.5 in the case group and -1.0 ± 4.1 in the control group (P = 0.068). The case group showed a significant improvement in MMSE scores after age adjustment compared with the control group (P = 0.049).
CONCLUSION: Hearing improved significantly in the case group relative to controls after cerumen removal. A significant cognitive improvement in the case group relative to controls was additionally observed after cerumen removal with age adjustment. Thus, the present results suggest routine ear canal examinations might benefit elderly individuals with memory disorders.