Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Maureen E. Groer, RN, Ph.D., FAAN

Co-Major Professor

Amanda F. Elliott, Ph.D., ARNP

Committee Member

John M. Clochesy, RN, Ph.D., CS, FAAN, FCCM

Committee Member

Jennifer J. Lister, Ph.D., CCC-A, FAAA


Cognition, Elderly, Presbycusis, Sensory Impairment


Hearing loss and cognitive impairment are significant health problems, threatening the independent function of older adults. While there appears to be a strong relationship between the two conditions, the mechanisms underlying this association are complex and are not fully elucidated.

The purpose of this secondary analysis was to explore the relationship between hearing ability and cognitive performance in older adults. In addition, this study attempted to examine the role of depressive symptoms in the relationship between hearing loss and cognitive performance. Comprehensive measures of peripheral hearing, central auditory processing and cognitive performance were utilized to examine these relationships in a sample (N = 30) of adults aged 60 years and older. The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) was used to assess depressive symptoms.

Correlational analyses revealed a statistically significant relationship between central auditory processing and executive function. Statistically significant relationships were also observed between speed of processing and peripheral hearing as well as central auditory processing. No significant relationships were noted between depressive symptoms, hearing acuity and cognitive performance. While the correlation coefficients (r) for several of the hearing and cognitive performance measures were not statistically significant, medium effect sizes were detected, suggesting a moderate association may exist between these variables.