Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hearing loss is associated with several diseases among them are dementia, cognitive dysfunction, diabetes and heart disease.   We now know there are more older adults with dementia who have hearing loss then there are older adults in general with hearing loss. 

Recent research shows there is a link between hearing loss and Alzheimer’s disease.  The study demonstrates people with untreated hearing loss are at greater risk for developing Alzheimer's Disease and dementia.  This happens partially from a loss of stimulation to the brain through the hearing pathways.  It is commonly known that using the brain by doing word puzzles and other games such as Suduko, stimulates the brain reducing the risk.  Hearing also stimulates the brain.  When one has hearing loss and does not use hearing aids, the brain lacks stimulation, adding to one’s risk for dementia.

Another study demonstrated adults with a mild to moderate hearing loss needed to use more energy to hear then those with normal hearing.  They used so much energy to hear, they were unable to recall a short list of words.  This further adds to memory loss.

Also, hearing loss can make it appear as if someone is having memory issues when really it is a hearing problem.  If someone does not hear information correctly and acts on the incorrect information, it appears as if they did not remember correctly or as if they are confused.

On a positive note, when treated with hearing aids and listening training, symptoms such as depression, anxiety, cognitive decline and disorientation can be reduced.  Basically it is a case of use it or lose it. And unfortunately, while there are many people with Alzheimer’s who have hearing loss, they are less likely to receive hearing help. 

The Better Hearing Institute recommends regular comprehensive audiologic examination and hearing aids when recommended.  Hearing aids can and do improve the quality of life of those with Alzheimer’s.  Call today to schedule an appointment.  

Life Sounds Great! Enjoy Every Moment!

Jane Kukula, AuD
Paula Webster, MA
Advanced Audiology Concepts
8897 Mentor Ave
Mentor, Ohio 44060

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