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Auditory processing deficits in individuals with primary open-angle glaucoma



The high energy demand of the auditory and visual pathways render these sensory systems prone to diseases that impair mitochondrial function. Primary open-angle glaucoma, a neurodegenerative disease of the optic nerve, has recently been associated with a spectrum of mitochondrial abnormalities. This study sought to investigate auditory processing in individuals with open-angle glaucoma. DESIGN/STUDY SAMPLE: Twenty-seven subjects with open-angle glaucoma underwent electrophysiologic (auditory brainstem response), auditory temporal processing (amplitude modulation detection), and speech perception (monosyllabic words in quiet and background noise) assessment in each ear. A cohort of age, gender and hearing level matched control subjects was also tested.


While the majority of glaucoma subjects in this study demonstrated normal auditory function, there were a significant number (6/27 subjects, 22%) who showed abnormal auditory brainstem responses and impaired auditory perception in one or both ears.


The finding that a significant proportion of subjects with open-angle glaucoma presented with auditory dysfunction provides evidence of systemic neuronal susceptibility. Affected individuals may suffer significant communication difficulties in everyday listening situations.

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