The relationship between nonverbal cognitive functions and hearing loss

Adriana A. Zekveld*, Jan Berend Deijen, S. Theo Goverts, Sophia E. Kramer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: This study investigated the relationship between hearing loss and memory and attention when nonverbal, visually presented cognitive tests are used. Method: Hearing loss (pure-tone audiometry) and IQ were measured in 30 participants with mild to severe hearing loss. Participants performed cognitive tests of pattern recognition memory, sustained visual attention, and spatial working memory. All cognitive tests were selected from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB expedio; Cambridge Cognition Ltd., 2002). Regression analyses were performed to examine the relationship between hearing loss and these cognitive measures of memory and attention when controlling for age and IQ. Results: The data indicate that hearing loss was not associated with decreased performance on the memory and attention tests. In contrast, participants with more severe hearing loss made more use of an efficient strategy during performance on the spatial working memory subtest. This result might reflect the more extensive use of working memory in daily life to compensate for the loss of speech information. Conclusions: The authors conclude that the use of nonverbal tests is essential when testing cognitive functions of individuals with hearing loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-82
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2007

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