White-matter microstructure and hearing acuity in older adults: a population-based cross-sectional DTI study

Stephanie C. Rigters*, Lotte G M Cremers, M. Arfan Ikram, Marc P. van der Schroeff, Marius De Groot, Gennady V. Roshchupkin, Wiro J.N. Niessen, Robert J. Baatenburg de Jong, André Goedegebure, Meike W. Vernooij

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    To study the relation between the microstructure of white matter in the brain and hearing function in older adults we carried out a population-based, cross-sectional study. In 2562 participants of the Rotterdam Study, we conducted diffusion tensor imaging to determine the microstructure of the white-matter tracts. We performed pure-tone audiogram and digit-in-noise tests to quantify hearing acuity. Poorer white-matter microstructure, especially in the association tracts, was related to poorer hearing acuity. After differentiating the separate white-matter tracts in the left and right hemisphere, poorer white-matter microstructure in the right superior longitudinal fasciculus and the right uncinate fasciculus remained significantly associated with worse hearing. These associations did not significantly differ between middle-aged (51–69 years old) and older (70–100 years old) participants. Progressing age was thus not found to be an effect modifier. In a voxel-based analysis no voxels in the white matter were significantly associated with hearing impairment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)124-131
    Number of pages8
    JournalNeurobiology of Aging: age-related phenomena, neurodegeneration and neuropathology
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


    • Age-related hearing impairment
    • DTI
    • Hearing acuity
    • Pure-tone audiogram
    • Superior longitudinal fasciculus
    • Uncinate fasciculus
    • Voxel-based analysis
    • White-matter tract


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