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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Auditory function in Parkinson's disease : preliminary findings Choi, Won Yong


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that largely manifests in older adults, whose disease burden may be worsened by age-related conditions like hearing loss. While the effects of PD and hearing loss independently have been studied extensively, evidence on the relationship between hearing and PD is inconsistent and lacking. The primary objective of this pilot study was two-fold: (1) to examine the feasibility of implementing a battery of audiological assessments to participants with PD, and (2) to investigate relationships among the audiological profile, PD symptoms, neuropsychiatric profile, and quality of life in this population. A total of 29 participants was recruited upon referral from the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre in Vancouver, BC. Four types of data were collected from each participant: demographic, audiological, neuropsychiatric, and quality of life. The present study found that 65.5% of the participants had normal hearing and that the mean scores of all participants for the neuropsychiatric and quality of life assessments were within normal. However, 58.6% of the participants scored poorer than 2.5th percentile on the Hearing in Noise Test and no participant scored better than the 50th percentile. Poor performance in Hearing in Noise Test was present in most participants, even in normal-hearing participants. PD-related neuropsychiatric and cognitive variables were not correlated with the poor hearing in noise performance. A larger-scale study examining the relationship between PD and hearing seems feasible. Future research on the impact of hearing in noise on communication deficits in PD and possible rehabilitative strategies is paramount.

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